Shape Shift With Me
Against Me! are a band who are on a serious run of form at the moment. Their last three records have all been outstanding and they've fully enhanced their standing in the annals of Punk history. With the fact that they are on such a run at the moment, the expectation surrounding this new record Shape Shift With Me has been huge begging the question, does it live up to the hype? Well to a point it certainly does. Whilst maintaining some consistency with the last few records, this doesn't quite hit the sweet spot as much as they did, but that doesn't stop this being a very strong record though and one that Against Me! fans and casuals new to the band will be able to click with very quickly.
The opening few tracks on the album, ProVision L-3, 12-03 and Boyfriend pack a serious punch and prove to be an absolutely breathless start. If you're not sucked in to this after those three tracks then there is something seriously wrong going on. The actual production on the album as well is top notch - with the well produced sound not losing any of the band's Punk grittiness. There is a real issue in Punk at the moment whereby there is a new generation of Pop Punk bands who seemed to have abandoned the 'Punk' element and elevating the 'Pop'. When albums like Shape Shift With Me smash in to the forefront of the Punk scene it only helps amplify that there are still bands out there packing the attitude and the aggressiveness needed for a really top release. Against Me! have never really compromised, and whilst this album may not be as strong as the last few, the band have not lost a shred of that confidence and power which has elevated them rightfully to the forefront of the scene.
With Shape Shift With Me the band have continued with meshing together both political and far more personal themes throughout. Commenting on the album prior to release, Laura Jane Grace did comment that "For me, having always been in a punk band that was expected to be political, I never felt like I had that option to write about feelings in that way. That’s what I ended up being drawn to this time. It’s writing in a way I thought I could never write before, and not giving a shit about expectations." and it is that very conscious personal effect to the song-writing which makes both this album and band so strong.
Overall then, Against Me! have delivered yet another top album which will have you hooked in instantly from the first listen. At times gauging the difference between a really top album and a 'good' album is whether repeat listens will be encouraged after your first impression - with Shape Shift With Me you'll definitely be looking to revisit this sooner rather than later.