Against Me! / White Crosses [With Bonus Tracks]

White CrossesAgainst Me! is a punk rock band formed in 1997 in Gainesville, Florida. Their first full-length album, released on No Idea Records in 2002, is Reinventing Axl Rose. They have previously released music on Misanthrope Records, Crasshole Records, Plan It X Records, Sabot Productions, No Idea Records, and Fat Wreck Chords. In December 2005, they signed with Sire Records, and released their major label debut, New Wave, on July 10, 2007. Their second album since signing to Sire Records, White Crosses, was released on June 4, 2010.

White Crosses—-With a huge drum intro and a guitar style that reminds me of many Jersey bands, the vocal is aggressive but pretty damn accessible. this is not your typical snotty nosed punk poseurs…this is straight forward energetic pop punk that has slight sounds of homage to the modern days Godfathers of the genre like Social Distortion. This has remarkable vocal harmonies and is accessible to even the most virgin of listeners. Exceptional!!!

I Was A Teenage Anarchist—-This is wonderful, a song that those of us who are older can still feel and remember the energy of the ire we felt coming up in the cold War era. when the song really kicks in, it still carries that East coast punk, freedom sound that just makes you smile. The guitars are aggressive and the band is at it’s best when all of these voices come together and deliver these huge chorus’. This is relevant, aggressive and accessible!!!

Because Of The Shame—-Listening to this band, you would never guess that they hailed from Florida. This has that huge Jersey sound that many bands aspire to. this is classic pop punk rock from a band that delivers an even better example of their relevance than they did on the last release. This is huge…the band works magnificently well together…the chorus’ are designed to inspire a mad mosh of frenzied delirium…and they deliver…track after track. Fantastic!!!

Suffocation—-The intro delivers a sound that makes me think of classic Lit….the vocal enters with a certain angst involved. The chorus smacks you in the face with probably one of the mist accessible tracks the band has ever produced. This band is at their best when it is a group effort…the result is always this huge gang vocal that makes my brain go wild. I love this release…powerful, poppy and delivered with enough attitude to make you smile for days.

We’re Breaking Up—-Slow to begin, the song finally begins with a rather lazy guitar and keyboard backdrop that allows you a moment to relax. The lyrics are so relatable that even I can find solace in them. The energy builds as the song continues and again, the entire band seems to join in one the chorus…giving it a nice big sound. This is remarkably good!

High Pressure Low—-Wow beginning with a bass line that sets the tone for the entire song, this is wonderfully energetic and allows the song to move at a fast pace. this is just wonderfully classic in sound…at times the vocal sounds as if it is from someone different altogether! The chorus is predictably huge…smashing against the sides of you skull with a fun almost pogo style delivery. This is fantastic!!!

Ache With Me—-Ok? This begins rather sedate and filled with a Petty/Springsteen style acoustic guitar that makes me again wonder where the hell these kids came from and what music they are listening to. The delivery is slow and lazy…the lyrics actually mean something and the delivery makes it all cement together in a masterful way. Not my favorite track, but this is great none the less.

Spanish Moss—-As the intro builds and builds and bounces off each headphone, you just know that this is going to be huge…and the band does not let you down. the song opens up and becomes this magna opus of energy and brilliant guitars that allow the punk element to stay intact. This is huge…the sound is so dense and layered that you back up the track to listen again…yes, it sounds even better the second time around. This is magnificent!!!

Rapid Decompression—-This is wonderfully aggressive without ever losing the pop sensibilities of the band. the guitars on this track are massive…the vocal is met with the offset band collective screaming back in unison…creating a huge aggressive delivery that the pistols could only dream about. this is New Millenium Punk that stands on its own all alone. A huge, but brief track that punches you right in the gut!!

Bamboo Bones—-For me, this is a bit of a mis-step. The song sounds uninspired and rather generic. the saving grace is the huge chorus that allows the whole band to be involved. the lead vocal is lackluster and sounds even dis interested…but when the song really comes together with the band as a whole, it rises above it and remains great!

Bonus Tracks:

One By One—-This is fantastic!!!! From the very onset of the song, the band is in full throttle and delivers that sharp crisp sound that again makes me think of classic SD or other bands of that time. The vocal is magnificent…shoving word after word into a sentence that seems so full it might burst. The band joins in one the chorus and it becomes this huge energetic track that drives my brain wild…this is fantastic!!!

Bob Dylan Dream—-Beginning rather sedate and with harmonica as you would expect from the song title, this really does not do a lot for me. I find nothing to compare it to…this falls incredibly flat for me and I have chosen to dismiss this as a fluke that can not be explained. This is lackluster filler that i try not to hold against these great bunch of guys! Although the fiddle in the latter part of the song is rather sweet!

Lehigh Acres—-With a nice intro that leans to the more aggressive side, the vocal enters and sounds like it was recorded in a big huge empty hall. There is a slight echo that sets me off…the band does not seem nearly as engaged and the magical harmonic hooks are missing…the bass chord that repeats through the song though….sweet!

Bitter Divisions—-This begins rather slow…the build up is half the fun though…when the song hits full throttle, you shake you head in amazement at the energy the band delivers time after time. This is huge fun…when the whole band joins in on the chorus, the result is a magnificent pop punk delivery that I can guarantee you I will reach for again and again and again…..

****3/4 out of 5


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