Over the past few years, Against Me! have gathered themselves quite a large cult following due to their eclectic blend of punk, folk and alternative rock. Their debut album Reinventing Axl Rose has become something of a classic since its release, and each successive album by the band has been met with almost the same unanimously positive reaction. Perhaps in fear of an impending stagnation, the newest Against Me! album, 2010’s White Crosses is sure to cause a stir with the fans of old. With a new, streamlined sound, Against Me! have reinvented themselves, a daring stunt that may lose a few fans, but it sure to gain them millions more.
To put it quite simply, White Crosses is mainstream rock done right. Catchy enough to ensnare the listeners attention and original to stand out from the pack, White Crosses is the album everybody strives to make, but few have the capability of making. Opening track “White Crosses” is perhaps the best example of the new direction taken; filled with the vibrancy of pop-punk, the song (which also features a welcome folk twang) is immediately accessible, brimming with joyous melodies and a perfect sing along chorus. Of course the band lyrically has not changed in any single way; songs like “I Was Teenage Anarchist” still display the punky pinash that has run through the majority of bands previous discography.
While it’s understandable that older of fans of Against Me! be upset in the new change of direction, it becomes increasingly apparent through the course of the album that on White Crosses, the band has completely rejuvenated their faith in playing music. From the frenzied old school punk attack of “Rabid Decompression” the alternative new wave inspired “Bamboo Bones” or the haunting folk ballad “Ache With Me”, it is almost palpable that the band have satisfied a certain desire to craft an album such as White Crosses even at the potential risk of losing a few fans. So instead of endlessly comparing it to their older material, take White Crosses for what it is; a damn great album.