Against Me!
Shape Shift With Me


3.0
good

Review

by conditionals USER (1 Reviews)
April 9th, 2017 | 39 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 3 3 3

Against Me! fans are a testy bunch. Some religiously *** with the first 3 albums only. Some say that third album is actually a damn sell out. Don't you dare mention 'White Crosses'. This was made abundantly clear to be at a concert back in 2010, when the crowd went wild for 'Pints of Guinness Make You Strong' while I was the single person cheering for 'Suffocation' amidst a sea of silent, angry faces.

Anyway, I'm just a dude who like Against Me! I like tracks from all their albums. This either makes me extremely qualified to review this album semi-objectively, or, perhaps not suited at all because I don't understand where the band went wrong all those years ago. All I know is that some people see Laura's rebirth and the subsequent 'Transgender Dysmorphia Blues' LP as a creative reawakening after losing their way… I just thought it was another nice AM! album. I like her songwriting in all its forms. Whatever.

OK, so this album. Those testy fans I mentioned have already ripped it apart in the sputnik ratings, calling the last LP a "fluke". I, honestly, can't fathom why someone would say that. This is solid. Perhaps unremarkable, a bit obvious, but in no way a dud.

Let's start with the production and general sound. I was impressed with the soundscapes and mix on this. It follows in the vein of 'Transgender Dysmorphia Blues' by eschewing the polished sound of 'White Crosses', but doesn't sound harsh or "lo-fi" at all. The bass is clear, the vocals sit well in the mix, it has a nice spacey sound while also giving the tracks a kick. Overall, I was impressed with the sound of the album. For example, I was quite impressed with the way the bass carries 'Delicate, Petite & Other Things I'll Never Be', making it sonically akin to a dirtier 'Don't Lose Touch'.

How's the songwriting" Utilising the production to its benefit, the songs are simple but effective. 'Provision L3' launches the album with a short burst of punk protest focused against airport scanners. 'Boyfriend' announces itself as an early standout with its earworm gang vocal chorus "treating me like a boyfriend… some dumb ***ing*boyfriend!". Following straight after, 'Crash' relies on Laura's voice takes the song on a rollercoaster ride, culminating in the titular "crash landing". Elsewhere, 'Dead Rats' has a pleasing groove going in the verse before devolving into a shouty punk coda. 'Norse Truth' serves as the de facto album centrepiece, with semi-stream of consciousness lyrics pushing further into lyrical abstraction than Against Me! have gone before. Perhaps this isn't the confessional payload of the previous LP, but, well, we have her recently released memoir for that.

Basically, then, this is Laura Jane Grace's show. Against Me!'s sole remaining lifer, James Bowman, does make his presence felt via high-mix backing vocals on 'Rebecca', serving perhaps as kind of a painful reminder of his rather buried presence from the rest of album. The remainder of the tracks are kind of unimpeachable latter Against Me! tracks. Not going to change the world, but you could play any one of them in your car stereo at high volume and fist pump against the steering wheel while stuck in traffic.

Put aside whatever reservations you have about Against Me! as it currently exists. This is a 3. To quote 'Norse Truth', "c'mon shape shift with me, what have you got to lose" *** it"


user ratings (167)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Lucid
April 9th 2017


9906 Comments


Biggest indicator that this was an utterly forgettable flop is that it hasn't been reviewed until now.

SandwichBubble
April 9th 2017


7049 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Edit: Anyway, I'm just a dude who likes Against Me!

OK, so this album. Those testy fans I mentioned have already ripped it apart in the sputnik ratings, calling the last LP a "fluke". | :b

Review's a bit conversational in tone, but a good first.

Digging: Refrigerator - Lonesome Surprize

JigglyPDiddy
April 9th 2017


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Probably their most forgettable and bland set of tracks yet. As a huge fan of this band, this record was just a pain* to get through.

JigglyPDiddy
April 9th 2017


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Axl Rose>SFAFC>Eternal Cowboy>TDB>WC>NW>This garbage

FullOfSounds
April 9th 2017


15764 Comments


Your review 's thesis point is really good. Nice read.

McTime50
April 9th 2017


400 Comments


"2 of 3 thought this review was well written"

almost.

Digging: Foxing - Nearer My God

dfevil085
April 9th 2017


1158 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really well written, but it might benefit from a little less use of first person writing.



This deserved a review and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

brandontaylor
April 9th 2017


697 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

last LP was a lot better but i still enjoyed this. definitely forgettable tho.

AsleepInTheBack
April 9th 2017


5857 Comments


Review's a bit conversational in tone, but a good first. [2]

Divaman
April 9th 2017


2639 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I gave it a 2-1/2, but we're not that far apart.

Digging: ho-ro - Hex

dreamgauze
April 9th 2017


910 Comments


Boyfriend is amazing tbh

Snake.
April 9th 2017


20789 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is really not bad

Digging: Mitski - Be the Cowboy

rockandmetaljunkie
April 9th 2017


7367 Comments


that album artwork though

Satellite
April 9th 2017


25796 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this one's a grower



am! 4 life

conditionals
April 11th 2017


555 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Thanks for the feedback, I had taken some pointers from other reviews but could feel myself talking a bit too much.

Honestly I don't have aims to do too many Sputnik reviews, I just felt that this album deserved a review and a proper thread.

AsleepInTheBack
April 11th 2017


5857 Comments


thats fair man, though I generally like your casual style (even if it could do with a little refinement) so would be cool to see more if you find an interest in it

conditionals
April 14th 2017


555 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I wrote this review on my 5 year anniversary of being on Sputnik... yet still couldn't remember not to lace my writing with profanities.

Anyway if anybody is browsing this threat that is debating whether to give this a go, try 'Boyfriend'.

IcarusTheTowel
May 17th 2017


46 Comments


'Transgender Dysmorphia Blues'

Satellite
May 17th 2017


25796 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol missed that. review isn't very good regardless.



"Against Me!'s sole remaining lifer, James Bowman"



wrong. he joined in 2000.

Satellite
May 17th 2017


25796 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

tbf i guess "lifer" could mean that he's stuck with the band since joining and possibly will until the end. so i suck and ignore me.



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