Review Summary: Sure, lines like “You’ve got no c*nt in your strut” are pretty rad, but all of the ballyhoo around this release doesn’t matter at all if this album sounded like sh*t.
For me, jamming punk has never been about a statement. For about 10 years my favorite punk album was Dookie, which is almost exclusively about jerking off in the California Suburbs. I loved that album because it was loaded with 3 minute bombs that jammed hard and its production was tighter than Hawks' weed budget. I’ve always thought that OMG STATEMENT punk was written by suburban white dudes trying really hard to be disenfranchised with suburban life and going for a HOLY SH*T TASTE MY CRED angle anyway. The only thing that matters in punk, and in life for that matter, is whether or not it rocks. Or rawks. Does it jam. Does it snare you. Does it make you want to pound stuff (like beer).
I still feel that way. I’m not qualified to wax poetic about the socio-political ramifications about the new Against Me! record, and even if I was, I don’t care enough about it to do so (I guess you could say if I was aksed how many f*cks are given, the answer would be zero). So Tom is now Laura. That’s fine. What’s important is whether or not the person who wrote “Cliché Guevara” and the all-time classic “Thrash Unreal” can still jam. Sure, lines like “You’ve got no c*nt in your strut” are pretty rad, but all of the ballyhoo around this release doesn’t matter at all if this album sounded like sh*t.
And damn it if I'm not bigtime impressed, because this album goes hard. It’s absolutely bursting with hook-laden, driving, melodic, cohesive, tasty jams. The entire exercise is a 29 minute clinic on what Upping-the-Goddamn-Punx is supposed to sound like. The subject matter is dirty, but the production is clean, and the sonic atmosphere is engaging, almost euphoric. With a few exceptions, this album passes the 6 beer test (meaning it sounds just as good sober as it does after 6 beers, which is a rarity in the genre). The bottom line is if you are hesitant to jam this hard because you don’t want to support the trans cause or you think it’s going to be lame because Tom isn’t a dude anymore or some other retarded reason, then you’re missing out. It’s probably the album Laura has been waiting her whole life to write, and if rocking a skirt is what it took to drag it out of her, then so be it.