There aren’t many bands who can boast a body of work like the one Against Me! have produced over their career. Boundary-pushing, influential and more than anything catchy as fuck, the band are revered as cult heroes today. Each album is received with open arms and salivating lips. After the 2014’s honest and excellent ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’, there are high hopes for ‘Shape Shift With Me’. Luckily Against Me! very rarely let us down.
If ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ was Against Me! bringing in the next chapter of their career with a Doc Marten to the face, then ‘Shape Shift With Me’ is them putting their feet up and showing how comfortable they are in their new life. The venom that has made the band such a household name is still there but takes a backseat with raw melody taking the wheel.
Though still as outspoken and outlandish as ever, Laura Jane Grace finds herself crooning more than spitting on the likes of the grubby ‘Boyfriend’ and the rousing ‘Haunting, Haunted Haunts’ while ‘Suicide Bomber’ is a perfectly scrappy slice of feel good punk. That’s not to say everything is being held back. ‘Dead Rats’ is the audio equivalent of the filth you find written on the walls of a petrol station bathroom, while ‘Norse Truth’ is an uncomforting tirade of bitter poetry and jaggling riffs. All the tracks on ‘Shape Shift With Me’ exist in perfect harmony to create a smart and very lovely album that shows off Against Me!’s growth as a band as well as feeling familiar enough to please the purists.
Though not at direct as some of their previous work, ‘Shape Shift With Me’ is the sort of album that so many bands can only dream of churning out. Vital, infectious and chock full of tunes will be ringing through your ears for weeks to come, Against Me! have once again come up trumps and prevailed as one of the most forward-thinking and assets that punk has right now.
‘Shape Shift With Me’ by Against Me! is released on September 16th on Total Treble / Xtra Mile Recordings.
Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)