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Against Me!

March 23, 2010

ButchVig
It’s impossible for me to write about new material from Against Me! without mentioning their past. Without mentioning how much people used to love this band and what they stood for, but I think it’s time for me to move on and accept the ultra produced rock band they have become. I only became a fan later in their career so I can 0nly imagine how hardcore fans feel.

Tom Gabel used to write lyrics that sounded awkward on paper but when sung they sounded honest and clever. Nowadays he just sounds awkward without any of the charm. Melodies get stuck by clumsy phrasing all over new album, White Crosses and sometimes the lyrical content is plain laughable (listen to the chorus of “Suffocation”). There are a few saving graces on offer here such as closing track “Bamboo Bones”.

Butch Vig’s disgustingly polished production can’t ruin every good idea after all. “Bamboo Bones” is jangly, upbeat and uplifting, all without being ironic (probably). It’s here that the pop sheen of White Crosses actually helps build the chorus into a mega-hook without it becoming laughably radio rock. “What God doesn’t give to you, you’ve got to go and get for yourself” yells Gabel in the chorus via quadruple tracked vocals; sure it’s not the smartest things he’s ever sung, and it’s a little bit “The Middle” but at least he’s not singing about being a fucking teenage anarchist. It’s also nice having someone critique faith a little bit less aggressively than your typical punk band. It’s no scratch on some of their more “authentic” past material but at least we know Gabel and co haven’t completely forgotten to write a good song.

“Bamboo Bones” mp3
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