Against Me!
New Wave


3.5
great

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
July 9th, 2007 | 59 replies | 13,991 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Against Me!'s first major label release is a solid one that will sadly be pissed all over by insecure punx neglecting to realize that "Reinventing Axl Rose" came out in 2002. It's 2007, get over it.

Please treat me with the same respect, I would appreciate the honesty.
A little less professional, a little more upfront and confrontational.


For a group that's reportedly "sold out", Against Me! seem to be as disgruntled as ever. Led by frontman and chief songwriter Tom Gabel, New Wave is the group's first venture into major label territory and, while it's a more refined take on their ever-evolving sound, it's as raw and impassioned as ever.

It's not raw in the sense that it's underproduced, and it's not impassioned in the sense that the group is no longer selling their own t-shirts, whatever that constitutes, but thematically, Against Me! is as frustrated as ever. While the folk elements breathed their last breath years ago, New Wave faces the question of why an album has to sound like shit to get the point across.

I could ramble on and on about Against Me!'s early years. I could talk about Tom playing guerrilla shows in laundromats and I could talk about how no one gave a shit about the group until they had a release big enough for the 'fans' to say "your early shit was better".

I'm not going to do that.

I'm not going to bitch and moan about how awesome the Vivida Vis! EP was because I haven't heard it. I'm not going to go on about how much I love Reinventing Axl Rose because that album was released five fucking years ago. I'm not going to talk about the band's past because it's not important. Most importantly, I'm not going to talk about the group's earlier days because Tom Gabel doesn't want me to. Tom Gabel has moved on, and so should you.

Everybody is talking about Against Me!'s glory days, but they fail to realize that their first four EPs and Reinventing Axl Rose all contain pretty much the same songs. The band has moved on, as should you. New Wave is the group's first major label release, and quite frankly, a welcome change.

New Wave's common-most lyrical theme is the banality of the modern mainstream, a topic explored right from the get go, as the title track boldly states the distance between the industry and the fans, all the while fighting for change –a chance. Frankly, I would be more than happy to hear this on the radio instead of the post-grunge donkey-rock drivel that pollutes the airwaves now. "Stop!" is the "Mutiny on the Electronic Bay" of the album, meaning it's short, danceable and to the point, but not all that impressive. "Up The Cuts", a mid-paced hook-laden track, has the group attacking the monotonous side of the modern mainstream, asking "are you restless like me?" Leadoff single "White People For Peace" is one of the stronger folk-less Against Me! tracks and "Americans Abroad" is a solid track, but I liked it better when it was the Buzzcocks' "Ballroom Blitz".

Wait. No I didn't.

New Wave is going to piss a lot of Against Me! fans off. Rather than regurgitating their earlier tunes, Against Me! decided to flex their musical muscle by writing solid, angry songs and, honestly, it's not all that far off from their last two releases. The bass is at an all time high, and finally Warren Oakes gets to let loose a little.

The album is short but enjoyable, and while lacks the DIY ethics of their earlier albums it's clear that an assload of effort and thought went into the disc. The only uniform complaint I can see is the lack of a trademark Against Me! acoustic track and the fact that, sadly, much of these songs won't translate live; I can't see myself holding up a glass and shouting along to many of these tunes. The songwriting is solid on here, and to attest to that, "Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart" features one half of Tegan and Sara and yet somehow, I can listen to it all the way through.

New Wave is a step in the right direction for the group. It's easy to enjoy on a superficial level, because the music is well written and enjoyable, and lyrically it's more than I could have expected. While obviously I'd have liked the group to continue on their folk/punk route, that's a dream that's about four years too late. If you like Reinventing Axl Rose, here's an idea…

Put it on.

I, personally, enjoy this album for what it is, and when I feel like their old material I'll listen to it. Give this a chance, you'll be pleasantly surprised.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Fort23
July 9th 2007


2475 Comments


Dam you beat me coke.
Tis good review, decent album.

Tyler
Emeritus
July 9th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

DFelon's review is on the way for a different take.

Two-Headed Boy
July 9th 2007


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review, man. Relatable.

I really can't wait for this, though the single was less than what I was expecting. Still good, though.

Fort23
July 9th 2007


2475 Comments


i better hurry up.

Tyler
Emeritus
July 9th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You can't post yours until it's out, Fort.

londoncalling457
July 9th 2007


2603 Comments


I didn't really like this album that much when I first heard it, but now it's one of my favorites at the moment. Ocean is such a great song. Nice review, as well/usual.

Fort23
July 9th 2007


2475 Comments


o yea that sucks. Whatever, Ill take my time.
(reply to cocaine)This Message Edited On 07.09.07

iarescientists
July 9th 2007


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I liked everything of Against Me! up to this album. I mean, all of their albums before this had this special quality that made them unique, but this is just mainstream radio rock that doesn't feel unique in anyway. I'd probably give it a 2/5

The Jungler
July 9th 2007


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'll be honest: I prefer Searching for a Former Clarity to Reinventing Axl Rose. I'll probably end up listening to this pretty soon, so I guess I'll post my opinions on it then. If things go well, I'll end up seeing them live at Lollapalooza this year.
Review is definitely good.

Tyler
Emeritus
July 9th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Are you basing that on a solid copy or a shitty leak that was kicking around? And have you really given it a chance? Honestly, it's not that far off from their last album.

edit: at iare.This Message Edited On 07.09.07

Tyler
Emeritus
July 9th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And Jungler, they're always worth seeing live. Always.

Two-Headed Boy
July 9th 2007


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

If you *like Reinventing Axl Rose, here's an idea…

Minor typo there.

iarescientists
July 9th 2007


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Are you basing that on a solid copy or a shitty leak that was kicking around? And have you really given it a chance? Honestly, it's not that far off from their last album.

edit: at iare.

The leak. I'll still get the album since I'm a pretty big fan, but is there really a difference between the leak and the actual album?

Tyler
Emeritus
July 9th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The leak that most people have is so atrocious. The quality is so unbearable. Still, it might not be for you so whatever, but still I'd say give it another chance.

Fort23
July 9th 2007


2475 Comments


Even if its not exactly "Folk Punk" or whatever anymore, it's still passionate political rock, even if its a little more personal.

Tyler
Emeritus
July 9th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's not really political.

Fort23
July 9th 2007


2475 Comments


not as much as Reinventing Axl Rose, but yea thats not even so political.

Intransit
July 9th 2007


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pretty good review, although I feel you danced around what the album actually sounds like for most of it and included too much about how much people need to move on beyond the fact that they have moved beyond Reinventing Axl Rose. I agree and all, but it wasn't really necessary to the review.

Clarity is my favorite by them, but this is very very good. Aside from Animal, and Stop at times, I really enjoy this album. For me, Ocean is my new favorite Against Me! song, while Borne on the FM Waves is almost equally amazing. This gets a solid 4 from me for now, and may eventually grow into a 4.5 depending on how it all ages.

And I have to disagree with your statement about the new tracks not translating well live. White People, Americans Abroad, Up the Cuts, and Ocean were all played at the show I went to, and were really nothing short of excellent.

tom79
July 9th 2007


3372 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'll probably be getting this soon.

What I heard so far sounded alright, without thinking of their past work. Great review.This Message Edited On 07.09.07

Digging: Karate - Some Boots

Tyler
Emeritus
July 9th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

When I say they won't transition live, I meant that it's not the same sort of vibe the earlier stuff has.



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