By Eileen Tilson
If you were an Against Me! fan from the day they released New Wave back in 2007, or you have a picture of Henry Rollins hanging above your bed, you might not be that impressed with the latest 10-song collection from the Florida boys. Once again, legendary producer Butch Vig (Nirvana, Garbage) was brought in to produce White Crosses, the second major album from Against Me!, and the result is an album that embodies the angst youth of America; increasingly jaded and detached as one comes of age.
Although it might be easy to write this album off as the background music in an American Apparel store, you have to hand it them that they found their niche market and they are taking it all the way, even if they are a bunch of 30-something-year-olds. Just like New Wave, Vig brilliantly oversees these clear, concise chant-along anthems worthy of any teenage mosh pit. Tom Gabel’s rebellious nature seems sincere, regardless of the package, exploring topics ranging from love to politics, while remaining completely digestible.
The album’s title track kicks things off with plodding rhythm setting the scene for the theme of the album: “Anarchy in the Youth of the U.S.” Jumping right into the band’s single “I was a Teenage Anarchist,” Gabel sings of “When we were young, and wanted to set the world on fire.” Each one of these 10 songs are radio-ready punk. “Because of the Shame” tells the story of a broken relationship set over a rolling piano, while “We’re Breaking Up” continues to touch on the love lost quandary, every hormonally-fueled kid feels at some point in his life.
Although the album doesn’t push any boundaries musically or lyrically, they are still sort of that blue collar hero that sings of days gone past and the realities of everyday life. At just over 35 minutes long, White Crosses flies by just like high school, but is definitely something you look back on fondly.