Against Me! is hardly worthy of an exclamation point with new disc

Against Me!
White Crosses
Sire
Grade: ★★

By Ron Harris, AP

The exclamation point at the end of a band name screams urgency, but there is nothing pressing on “White Crosses,” the latest release from Florida punkers Against Me! Unfortunately, it weighs in bereft of anarchy.

Lead singer Tom Gabel certainly comes on strong and loud vocally. But his lyrics ring hackneyed, hollow and lacking the true angst that is supposed to accompany such decibel levels.

“This is the only way I know how to say I’m not in love any more,” Gabel sings on “We’re Breaking Up,” an obligatory broken-heart power ballad with far too much piano and not enough artistic distance from the early 1990s.

And on “High Pressure Low,” the band is so hook hungry it’s hard to determine if they’re serious on this ode to unstable global politics. They try hard to get this song stuck in your head. Too hard in fact, when some subtlety or tonal texture might have served them better.

With Against Me! it all feels like formula and folderol. Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? Johnny Rotten’s parting stage salvo still rings true when it comes to punk for pay.

CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: “Bamboo Bones” stands alone as the standout track. Gabel sings about pushing through adversity and staying strong when life isn’t served up on a silver platter. With this final track, the boys saved the best for last.


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