Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Against Me!: New Wave [Warner Bros., 2007]
On his promiscuously praised, seriously strained second album, Tom Gabel mastered song form. Third try he sinks his personal agony into his historical anguish, unalleviated by how well he understands it. Forthright expression can be cathartic, however, and so, with advice from Butch Vig (of Garbage, not Nirvana), Gabel and his cohort power out 10 hard-edged anthems that will piss off the right people--not the D.C. courtier class, who could care less, but alt types who find the sociopolitical inauthentic, uncool and the rest of that rot. Polysyllabic and self-aware, this is the best political punk in years. Yet the personal's still in it. A-