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July 12, 2010

Music Review: Against Me - White Crosses

Against Me divided a lot of their fan base when they moved to a major label and left behind anyone who wasn't willing to accept that bands mature and evolve their music. They probably caught a lot more slack for it because of their staunch denial that they would ever go that route, despite major label types buzzing around them like bees. Just go watch their DVD, We're Never Going Home, to see numerous scenes of them wining and dining on record company recruiters dimes, only to turn them down afterwards.

Still, all of this "sold out" crap is stupid. The simple fact of the matter is, that Against Me always played a variation of punk that had twinges of influence from plenty of more mainstream genres of music. And as they've grown and matured as a band, some of those influences have emerged a little bit more than they were before. They can still write some of the most creative lyrics, and catchiest hooks I've ever heard from a punk band.

While New Wave, and Searching for a Former Clarity before it, have both taken steps away from the speed and intensity with which Against Me used to play, White Crosses might have finished crossing the line between punk and just plain old rock... if there is one. Not that they don't play with every bit of fervor as before, it just seems like the songs are much more planned and thought out, and extremely well-produced.

Frankly, I like the direction they've gone in. I barely ever stop and turn on an "alternative rock" station these days, but if Against Me is what they're playing, then I'm happy. As they've gotten older and started families, their lyrics have turned to those aspects of life. The song, I Was a Teenage Anarchist, even addresses this shift, and I think the music matches it perfectly.

So many bands have a hard time figuring out how their sound should change as they get older, and a lot of bands just fall into the same old rut and become more detached from the type of music they are making with each new release. I'm ecstatic that Against Me isn't one of those bands, and I hope they've got many more releases to come.

Score: 5 out of 5
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