By Against Me!
Against Me! released the best album, in my opinion, of 2002 with their full length debut "Reinventing Axl Rose" with Gainesville luminaries No Idea Records. On hearing that they'd teamed up with Fat Wreck to release their second, I was a tad shocked. In the past Fat have been accused of being major label wannabes and a one-sound label promoting the SoCal sound to death. I've always thought otherwise, as their roster currently has one of the most eclectic line-ups of any punk label including Anti Flag, Rise Against, Good Riddance and Non More Black, none of whom I would describe as having the SoCal sound (not that there is anything wrong with SoCal, in moderation anyway). And as for the major label accusations this is just toss, Fat have always been an indie label and the fact that some of the bands sell 200,000 records plus, just seems to tick some people off. Why? I dunno?
Anyhow, This is a fine record, but is it as good as "Reinventing Axl Rose"? Well yes it is!
Sounding like a blend of folky country punk and new wave hardcore it's difficult to pigeonhole. Songs like "Sink, Florida, Sink", remind me of the earlier EP "Disco Before The Breakdown" with a nicely crafted acoustic guitar sound and emotional, powerful vocals. Others that stand out are "TSA" and "Cliché Guevara" for the uplifting scream along vocals and fast pace.
Vocal wise the task is taken up by Thomas and can he wail! He has the smoothest transition from beautiful high harmonies to a deep angst ridden drawl I have ever heard, fantastic stuff. Lyrically the theme has stayed the same as "Reinventing Axl Rose", with a blend of political and personal lyrics but never delving into the dark and boring depths of emo.
Production sound is a little more polished than earlier offerings and depending on what side of the fence you're on, that's either a good thing or a bad thing. Personally I don't care 'cos basically whatever the production is like Against Me! rock!