The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
AGAINST ME TRANSGENDER DYSPHORIA BLUES REVIEW 2014

 

AGAINST ME! - TRANSGENDER DYSPHORIA BLUES

TOTAL TREBLE

JANUARY 21 2014

 

 

Against Me!, me, me, me, me, me, me, me… Me, me, me, me, me… Me, me, me etc…

 

I must admit I never really particularly liked Against Me! But only ever having seen them on a Festival stage it’s sometimes unkind to judge. Reading their press though just infuriates me, no one least of all the band seems to want to talk about music, all they want to talk about is Laura Jane Grace (born Tom Gabel)’s transgender issues. When the hell will modern Western society’s self-obsession end. People of all walks of life have it tough dear, get over it, don’t fucking sing about it!

 

Four years after grossly disappointing “White Crosses” the label has gone, the rhythm section has gone and the front-person has changed sex (but vocally still sounds the same). But of course of all those events it’s that last one that will garner the majority of the attention from the PC media and therefore it commandeers much of the lyrical content herein: though to be honest by the end of this ordeal you will be praying for a song about record labels or band break-ups.  

 

The music here is sadly nothing special at all, veering from pub-punk to balls-out rock, but largely unforgettable, and stunningly unoriginal. I hate to seem cynical but to be honest there is nothing here to suggest that this band is any better than thousands out there ploughing the same overworked field. ‘Paralytic states’, for example, sounds like it was written on the back of a beer mat half-pissed and when sober they forgot the good bit. Similarly ‘Dead Friend’ is the sort of song you can’t imagine passing any kind of quality control.

 

Grappling around in the dark looking for a highlight here was harder than usual, but ‘Unconditional Love’ certainly has a spark of something and ‘Black Me Out’ is a great song of controlled rage but somehow not as self-centred and obsessive, and far more defiant than most of the rest here, if only there were more like this.

 

Sure the band will get attention for this release, do they deserve it from a musical point of view? I don’t think so, this is far too run-of-the-mill. Sure, I know I’ll hear worse this year, but I won’t hear worse riding on this big a wave of PC-righteous ‘they’re heroes changing the world/most important album of the year’ publicity. No one is belittling the issue but you come away somehow feeling if as much time had gone into the quality of the songs as obviously went into the arduous process of shovelling the lyrical content out, we’d all still be aware of the issues, but we’d certainly have a far better album… I rue the day when the message will be more celebrated that the music.

 

Sadly, and despite the snappy title, it is all by and large uninspiring musically. Personally I judge music on… the music… old school I know. Their first few albums are far, far better than this. The rest of the press will tell you to like it in the most patronising way ‘because it’s incredibly important’, if it does someone out there some good that’s great, that’s a good thing, but it doesn’t automatically make it great rock and roll. Use your ears to listen kids not eyes…

 

 

by Mark Rockpit

 

 

BLUES PILLS LIVE AT ROCKPLAST - HARD ROCK ALBUM REVIEW 2014