November 30, 2016 Against Me! – Shape Shift With Me (Album Review)
With passionate power and reckless behavior, Against Me! encompasses a road-raging journey of Punk Rock. Beginning almost two decades ago, 1997 brought this Floridian band to life, revving the engines to a speedy and lengthy start. Envisioned and assembled by Vocalist Laura Jane Grace, the ensemble slowly began to take shape when 2001 rolled around, bringing Guitarist James Bowman with it. Initially a solo act, the world of Punk Rock would not the same without the creation of a whole suit brought to the picture.
Jumping from Indie labels to the next, Against Me! went on to write, record, tour, and repeat; the usual for any band just starting out. Although doing the norm is somewhat required for any touring band, the group was and is anything but normal. Having their own twist for each and every song, Against Me! can be seen as a band sent from above. With some bumps in the road- taken quite literally when a van accident brought the band to crumble and break up, only to reassemble later that year – everything always seems to work itself out, in favor of good music.
What seems like forever and an eternity later, Against Me!, now a well-rounded four piece, with Atom Willard (drums) and Inge Johansson (bass), are back at it again. With an incredible discography and a list of shows to blow any other band out of the water, there is nothing quite like fresh music to seize the day, and July of 2016 brought the announcement of their seventh album, Shape Shift With Me. Becoming available to the public on September 16th via the band’s own label, Total Treble Music, the album is their first in over a decade to feature more than ten tracks. Peaking in Billboard 200 charts at 80, it is yet another successful effort from this underappreciated band.
Kicking off yet another award-winning album with an introduction to kill, “ProVision L-3” fuels the fire with rage and ammunition, setting up an already great Punk Rock album. An absolute favorite, “12:03” is fun, bouncy, and light; a perfect pick-me-up for any bad day. Shifting right into “Boyfriend,” sounding quite like the track before but having its own sweet and sour components, anyone will fall head-over-heels for Against Me! and their unique style. Continuing on with another popular piece, “Crash” is just what anyone needs to Rock the night away. Completely catchy and memorable in every way, Shape Shift With Me is turning into an album of the year must-have.
Chill vibes and groovy beats, “Delicate, Petite, & Other Things I’ll Never Be” is absolutely brilliant. Combining everything that Punk bands aspire to be, Against Me! just goes to show what pure talent actually sounds like. Always relevant, “333” is just another example of what is lacking in the rest of the music industry. Embracing themselves and a sound that can stop a truck, Shape Shift With Me is truly a work of art. Slightly ghoulish, “Haunting, Haunted, Haunts” is an upbeat show-stopper. Wholly unique, this track is one of many that can unite a group of people together in one unstoppable force; and it is all thanks to good Punk jams.
Full of anger and a touch of revenge, “Dead Rats” is dark and somewhat mysterious. Showing another side of Against Me! that listeners may not have been aware of yet, change always seems shocking but can turn out to be a great surprise. Picking right back up, “Rebecca” is everything that “Dead Rats” was missing, and “Norse Truth” even more. Living up to the hype of something new, “Suicide Bomber” is slightly calmer, but just might be one of the best yet. Against Me! is always a good idea, and that is clear to see with “All This (And More);” a track that will turn anyone into a fan, this piece is transcending in its own way, making Shape Shift With Me a complete success.
Fully embracing and embodying everything that is Punk Rock, Against Me! is just purely that. Fueled with a sense that the world is out to get us all, music is the key to unlocking any and all ways to subside this feeling of angst. Through storytelling, ranting, and raving, as well as just about losing their minds, Against Me! is a band like no other. Perfect for Punk fans of any generation, CrypticRock gives Shape Shift With Me 4 out of 5 stars.