Welp, I suppose I won’t beat around the bush. I mean, Against Me! have certainly done nothing of the sort since it’s right in the album’s title. This is the first album the band has released since the singer’s coming out in may of 2012 as Transgender. Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom James Gabel) showed the world what it truly means to be a punk rocker by going against something so primitive and intrinsic to human ideology (gender) and I think it does wonders for this album. First of all, it touches on the subject in a way no one has ever done before. I mean, sure the Kinks did a song about it but not from this point of view. And sure Antony Hegarty has been doing it for years but not quite in the same spotlight. Laura did this in a punk scene brimming with testosterone. A scene that is not necessarily all that open-minded.
Now you might be asking yourself “What does all this have to do with the music?” Well that brings me to my second point. It brings new passion to a genre where things have been run down and then backed over… And run down again for good measure. It really brings new life and new perspective to a floundering punk scene.
That all being said, don’t go in expecting an album only the trans community will be able to relate to. They do an excellent job of putting it to sleep while not throwing it in your face. You really only have the not so subtle “True Trans Soul Rebel” which initially comes off as a sort of Sweet cover. Everything else is really up for interpretation. From the more personal songs such as “Two Coffins” and “Paralytic States”, to the 90’s style punk of “Osama Bin Laden as the Crucified Christ” and “Black Me out”, there is something for any punk fan to relate to. Against Me! have by no means abandoned the punk style nor have they abandoned witty song writing. So fear not bangers of the head. Your head will not sit still on this night.
All in all I wish they had made the album longer because it is a good time. It is a fun album, a brave album, and it is a straight up punk album. Though the album’s biggest hindrance is the lack of creativity within the music itself, you feel that nothing drags on. It’s fun, it’s catchy and I think you’ll find yourself singing along. Laura hasn’t a thing and this album certainly shows that. You can listen to the stream now on NPR.com.
Tracks to listen to:
1. True Trans Soul Rebel
2. Osama Bin Laden as The Crucified Christ
3. Two Coffins
4. Black me Out