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 shi
t 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 shi
t 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 fu
cking 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.
'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.
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.
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.