In a time full of viral sensations on the Internet via videos and blogs, instant media and news at your fingertips at any time and a culture oriented more than ever on celebrities, it is almost surprising to listen to a band with a political opinion. When it is so much easier to add "friends" on MySpace and label your band a success, why bother forming a point of view? Against Me! hit the nail right on the head when they observe that we are a restless culture. "New Wave," the major label debut of Against Me!, reflects that comment on our culture and others as the band remain firmly opinionated but never get preachy.
"This stage is not a pedestal…A little less professional/a little more up front and confrontational./Just say what you're thinking," frontman Tom Gabel vehemently tells his musical peers on "Piss And Vinegar," the full instrumentation getting as carried away as the vocals. Gabel puts his point of view transparently into the title of "White People For Peace" as he paints a vivid picture of a nonviolent protest to war over quick driving riffs. Putting a bit of a trendy indie spin on "Stop!," the band beg for reflection while the low and slow "Animal" crawls along before an electric guitar solo cuts the tension. And while it is easy to put your opinions down in song, Gabel acknowledges his own guilt in the notable "American Abroad."
A rock album with a point of view, Against Me! makes "New Wave" stand out with thoughtful insights while never compromising their musical integrity. Part of what makes "New Wave" so effective is its honest approach that never belittles the listener. Steady, tight instrumentation with bouncing rhythms, the band does a little bit of it all and does it well. While "New Wave" is not exactly punk rock nor is it inaccessible, Against Me! still offer a focused album that actually leaves you with something tangible.