After Against Me!’s success with their 2014 album ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’, they are back with their brand new record ‘Shape Shift With Me’ and this album is one hard hitting record filled with great punk anthems. Since front woman Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender in 2012, the band delved into Laura’s quest for acceptance on ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ where the whole meaning of that album was the fear in the intimidate aftermath of coming out as transgender but in this brand new album the whole meaning is love and romance.
‘Shape Shift With Me’ opens up with the two minute hard hitting song ‘Provision L-3′ Where Grace repeatedly shouts the title and is accompanied with some tasteful guitar riffs and some fast paced beats but the record really gets started with the amazing ’12:03’.
This song feels like the beginning of the end for Grace’s relationship as she sings about coming to a slow and steady realization that for all this time she has been stuck with a woman who has not been treating her great with the lyrics as ” I’ve been tethered like a toy to your finger” and “you walk me like a dog and I’m sick of rolling over”. With these powerful lyrics and Grace’s wonderful voice it is accompanied with some cheerful guitar riffs and chords intertwined with some fast paced hitting beats and drum fills… this has to be one of my favorite tracks off this whole record.
The third track ‘Boyfriend’ brings out some of the bitter feelings Grace possesses. The start of the track features fuzzing bass lines , subtle pounding piano chords and chiming guitars which flow greatly with the start of the melody that Grace’s strong powerful singing voice delivers. With the lyrics “Treated me like a boyfriend” and “some dumb fucking boyfriend”, this shows the two feelings Grace had at first when she continued to be treated like a man after coming out as transgender and how she thought the certain relationship was much more serious than just a boyfriend. The melancholy is accompanied by easy going drums and upbeat guitars.
A certain track that stood out to me the most on this record had to be ‘Dead Rats’ as you could hear Grace’s change of vocal delivery in this track by speak singing in the verses which gives the song a flat , tired and worn out effect and this also has the same bitterness feel as “boyfriend”. In the final minute of the song the tension is built up by the drums and guitar strumming on a single note and playing on nothing but just a hi hat cymbal before a double time punk finish basically finishing the track with the addition of more edge in the last 30 seconds.
Throughout this record you realise with Grace writing songs about relationships that the singer is more comfortable in her own skin and is less subjected to the old expectation of what herself and the band supposedly have to be. With these hard hitting tracks and up beat rhythms, this album is going to be a huge hit live at their gigs and also great in the charts. Overall this album has to be one of Against Me!’s greatest albums to date even through it isn’t as big as ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ but it is worthy of being a strong entry in Against Me’s discography.
Catch Against Me! Live on tour at these dates:
13 Bristol Bierkeller
14 Birmingham O2 Academy 2
15 Glasgow King Tuts
16 Leeds Cockpit
17 Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
18 Manchester Academy 2
19 London Camden Electric Ballroom