For Fans Of
Punk, much like metal, hardcore and essentially every heavy genre can be a fickle field. Sometimes we can characterise it solely as a brutal artistic type. Just as fans of the aforementioned genres are renowned for their unwavering passion and support of their musical heroes, they are similarly known for their unforgiving nature if in their opinion something goes awry.
Fortunately, fifth studio album from Florida punk quartet Against Me! entitled, ‘White Crosses’ is not a definitive departure nor is it a let down from a band that arguably maintains iconic status in the contemporary punk landscape. However, the tone of the album suggests that ‘White Crosses’ will have its share of detractors just as it will have its myriad of fans.
It is fair to say, that listening to an Against Me! album (at least the one in question and its predecessor) can garner a very subjective response. Some will view the material as brilliant while others might see it as not fitting in with the aesthetics of traditional punk rock.
Against Me! have always maintained a certain folksy element to their music. Moreover, melody and catchy hooks are musical ideals the band has never shied away from (see: ‘Stop’ and ‘Thrash Unreal’ from previous album ‘New Wave’). First album to feature new drummer George Rebelo (ex- Hot Water Music), ‘White Crosses’ essentially picks up from where ‘New Wave’ left off.
The four-piece have never relied on a break-neck, circle pit, blast beat style to achieve their clear and sincere approach to punk. ‘White Crosses’ is no different. Beginning with a piano introduction, early track ‘Because of the Shame’ is a more modern example of the signature Against Me! sound from Tom Gabel and Co. A memorable chorus tops off a sentimental rock infused punk tune.
Acoustic pieces like ‘Ache with Me’ are either going to be your cup of tea or your reason to press skip on the stereo remote. Concurrently, ‘Rapid Decompression’, the album’s shortest song is old school through the agency of a faster tempo and some well-placed stage calls. Concurrently, ‘One By One’ is both solid and dependable.
‘White Crosses’ will probably generate a polarising response but it is nevertheless assured, consistent and to use the vernacular, not too shabby.
From a song-writing and structural point of view, Against Me! seem to get better with each release. Some older fans might be wishing for a return to the initial days circa ‘Against Me! As the Eternal Cowboy’ however, the band seems content with the direction they are heading and ultimately who can argue with that.
1. White Crosses
2. I Was a Teenage Anarchist
3. Because of the Shame
5. We’re Breaking Up
6. High Pressure Low
7. Ache With Me
8. Spanish Moss
9. Rapid Decompression
10. Bamboo Bones
11. One By One (bonus track)
12. Bob Dylan Dream (bonus track)
13. Lehigh Acres (bonus track)
14. Bitter Divisions (bonus track)