New Wave review by Against Me!

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  • Released: Jul 10, 2007
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (56 votes)
Against Me!: New Wave
1

Sound — 8
Among the scores of pop-punk bands out there, a few groups have thankfully omitted the pop part out. With it's 4th studio release called New Wave, Against Me! has once again reaffirmed exactly why it's traditional punk style -- free from frills or based around basic chords -- still manages to lure an audience. The new release marks a few milestones for the band, namely it's first record on Sire and the addition of Butch Vig (Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana) as producer. While the music underneath never gets overly inventive, frontman Tom Gabel's consistently angry, growling vocals are so effective that you almost feel like joining some sort of revolution from the first track. Between the cleverly written lyrics and the unique vocals heard on New Wave, you're in store for a record that definitely appeals more to the emotions. But essentially that's what punk is supposed to: push buttons and incite some sort of reaction. The songs do tend to stick to a familiar punk format, but the band is not at the mercy of punk rock and even added a quasi-ballad (Borne On The FM Waves Of The Heart). That particular track features the sweet and delicate vocals of Tegan Rain Quin from the group Tegan And Sara. While Tegan has plenty of credibility in the rock world (The White Stripes covered one of her songs), she still creates a whole different feel that could have been possibly a dangerous move for a punk band. In the end, however, it does work and provides much-needed contrast to the rest of the record. The vast majority of tracks are the polar opposites of ballads and sound like what you might hope for in a traditional punk band. There's plenty of punchy guitar backed by a solid rhythm section, and more importantly, Gabel sounds downright annoyed in pretty much every song. Tracks like Piss And Vinegar, Americans Abroad and White People For Peace all have a familiar punk feel musically, but Against Me! still plays with an abundance of energy that isn't matched by most punk bands out today.

Lyrics — 9
In the lyrics department, the band hits the mark on every track. The songs deliver much more than just angry, dissatisfied themes, and it's obvious that the lyrics are given high priority in the band. The song Americans Abroad seemingly tells the story of a vacation overseas, but it's obvious that the message is more about America's over-eager expansion. Gabel sings, Golden arches risin' above the next overpass; These horizons are endless; Americans abroad! Americans abroad! Profit driven expansion into foreign markets. And as a punk purist might expect, there's no shortage of cynicism on the majority of New Wave. As was mentioned earlier, Borne On The FM Waves Of The Heart offers something very different, and even with Gabel's gruff vocal delivery, it still manages to feel genuine. He sings, No, it's not what we meant to say; We don't really love each other; What happens when the summer's over? How long before distance becomes a chore? While the talk about the summer being over might feel a little cliche, you still have to give a punk band credit for daring to go where emo bands tread.

Overall Impression — 8
New Wave offers mostly what you'd expect from Against Me!, but there are about 3 tracks that veer in different directions. Besides the obvious ballad, the track Animal sounds more like straightforward rock, complete with a groove-oriented, sexy riff. It's definitely not about politics and instead explores a human being's most basic needs. The closing track The Ocean has musical twists and turns that are more experimental, and you could consider it the opus of the record. The solo guitar work is fairly subtle throughout the album, but it's the rhythm section that really conveys the punk vibe. The band sticks to the short-and-sweet method of punk songs, although there are a few like The Ocean that approach the 5-minute mark. Against Me! albums are always an interesting listen, and a large part of that is due to the energy conveyed by Tom Gabel. If the records are any indication of Against Me!'s stage shows, audiences are going to be in for a good time.

19 comments sorted by best / new / date

    adamjowens
    If the records are any indication of Against Me!s stage shows, audiences are going to be in for a good time.
    damn right, saw them in Leeds, UK and it was absolutely amazing.
    Sneak King
    I actually think this might be better than Clarity. I wasn't let down as much as I expected I would be, although obviously it can't come close to comparing to old AM! The music is repetitive and generic, but some songs have some nice parts. If this CD was put out by just a normal generic punk band I would like it more, because I know Against Me! can write so much more original music. Good as a punk CD, bad as an Against Me! CD. Oh, and the reviewer seems to have no idea what emo music is, but I guess neither does 90% of the music world.
    Animeguy
    aperfectshot176 wrote: there nt ****inn punk there a bunch of bloody posers real punk is crass misfits old afi ramones black flag and shit like that i have yet to see against me make anything even close to punk. get it straight. i dnt kno what to call it but its not punk
    uhhh... dude chill out. And use some punctuation in ur sentences. its definitely not like the first wave of punk, but its certainly a newer form of it
    aperfectshot176
    there nt ****inn punk there a bunch of bloody posers real punk is crass misfits old afi ramones black flag and shit like that i have yet to see against me make anything even close to punk. get it straight. i dnt kno what to call it but its not punk
    werty22
    The word "punk" has been used twenty-two times on this page. (23 now)
    seventyXseven
    n0selfesteem wrote: The album was fantastic, people that call them sellouts are lame. Seriously. It's catchy and fun; I feel similar to Sneak King; I think it's a fantastic punk cd, but it's a step backwards from Searching For A Former Clarity. People shouldn't get so uptight because it's not the Against Me! they loved. They've grown up, why can't you guys do the same?
    first off this isnt a punk cd its clearly rock influenced. and icepot is right this album is a serious f-up. They didn't "grow up" considering Clarity was the same way as this they've go themself ina hole and get get out and i feel they are doomed to please the mainstream with their now new felt music ..to bad they've lost it. i was also reading in AP- their review of this and its a 4 out of 5... im so confused as to why people think having 3 songs about the same thing is acceptable on a 10 track record. bottom line it blows.
    n0selfesteem
    The album was fantastic, people that call them sellouts are lame. Seriously. It's catchy and fun; I feel similar to Sneak King; I think it's a fantastic punk cd, but it's a step backwards from Searching For A Former Clarity. People shouldn't get so uptight because it's not the Against Me! they loved. They've grown up, why can't you guys do the same?
    icepot
    seventyXseven wrote: go to www.punknews.org and read that review much mroe appropriate
    seventyxseven hit the nail perfectly. this album blows. against me has changed too much. i thought searching for a former clarity was bad, i was sadly mistaken after hearing this shit. all their old lyrics now just make them look like hypocrites, you could say people change, and we all know everyone would like that extra cash, but they ****ed up. their music, it used to hit you. now its calm and collective. i get more thrills out of listening to kelly clarkson now, especailly when she hits the high notes.
    ghostmouse859
    i actually liked the album. However, i listened to them when i was in high school (i have now graduated), and they are not the live band they once were. I read an article in guitar world about them and how many different amps they used on the album. I think that if they stuck to just one amp with less effects, it would make the album just a bit better. The use of different amps on the albums less of a live band. People would see them just because of the atmosphere. Now it is a little different. Just listened to what they played on Conan a few nights ago with "Thrash Unreal". The performance was decent but you couldn't see them in a basement singing with their fans. They have changed and it is up to the listener to think if it is for better, or worse. My opinion, they haven't done any good with having Butch Vig produce their album because he overproduces everything. Hopefully they can try to regain something with an acoustic album, going back to their roots.
    end_citizen
    Great album (crime as forgiven by... is best though). I am seeing them Aug 7 in tulsa for the first time!
    Physh
    these guys are amazing. saw them at warped tour last year and they dominated.
    minimann
    shit album IMO white people for peace **** yus but the rest is all pretty poor stuff
    Death2pop666
    i think its very good, but it does get a bit repetitive. hes a great lyicist though. but no one can say they suck live, saw them w/ mastodon and they were great, gave the album an 8
    seventyXseven
    oh man this album sucks , against me gave us a warning sign with "Clarity" saying hold up old fans we're going mainstream now watch out and new wave is so repeitive and bland and they write songs about the music industry being the same , they are becoming what they are writing about in their lyrics.! the only decent song(s) on this album are Thrash unreal and the studio version of Americans Abroad. this saddens me with this record and 10 is deffintaly not a rating suitable for such stuff expected from AM! Somone with a right mind and who has heard Crimes and Reinventing Axl Rose explain how this album somehow deserved a user rating of 10.!!
    BottleOfSmoke
    cant wait to pick up the new disc. "clarity" was a big improvement on "Eternal Cowboy", which was an awesome record in the first place.
    GregS819
    Warped does AM! no justice, see them in a club. The new record is incredible.
    pabashe
    against me has changed. everyone can admit that. and it had to be tough to follow up to anything they have put out before "SFAFC". im just not sure how i feel about the new album. id agree with what someone said up there, thats its not that bad of a cd, its just a bad against me cd.