Punks Got Heart
Sometimes, musical prowess isnâ€šÃ„Ã´t everything. With their new album, Searching For A Former Clarity, Against Me! proves that a lot of heart is enough to make a good album.
This isn’t to say that the musicianship is terrible. Musically this is Against Me!’s strongest album yet, with catchy punk-fused rock that makes the listener want to pump their fist in the air. It seems to be that many indie bands are trying to be more musically complex and “inventive” than they need to be. It’s refreshing to have something that is just enjoyable to listen to, without forcing us to think so much. On certain tracks, such as “Unprotected Sex With Multiple Partners,” Against Me! manages to blend many different styles, including country, punk, and disco, in a manner that works surprisingly well.
Tom Gabel’s vocals, while having a rough, smoker’s growl to them, assist in bringing many influences to light. “Justin” at times sounds like it belongs on Avail’s 4am Friday, while the western ballad “How Low” could fit perfectly on the Kill Bill Soundtrack. The only problem with Gabel’s singing is that at times it is too harsh, which detracts from the album as whole. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen too often, and on songs like “Joy In All I Can See” his tenor voice complements the acoustic guitar perfectly.
Overall, Against Me! have a solid new album on their hands. Refusing to follow the current trends that everyone else seems to be aligning themselves with, Against Me! give us intelligent, and fun punk rock that is worth more than a token listen.