Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

New Wave

Florida punks issue a sharp challenge to the status quo

You're not supposed to sing lines like "Similar trends in camera technique and editing" or "Protest songs in response to military aggression." They're stiff, Latinate, artistically self-conscious. But on a major-label debut following a breakthrough album all too rich in intelligent angst, they're also ballsy, and with help from name producer Butch Vig, Tom Gabel's emo-hardcore band makes them rock. Tempos are up half a notch, and Gabel's loudspeaker vocals go for clarion boldness. He's not agonizing, he's angry - about observable phenomena he's seen up close and isn't afraid to analyze. Sure he despises the war and the complacency of everyone who doesn't. But he conceived this album as a challenge to all bands, including his own, to render that feeling effective. If "Piss and Vinegar" puts it to the mainstream, "Up the Cuts" wonders whether all music hasn't become disposable in the age of the download. Maybe New Wave is disposable too. But Gabel is fighting it.

Rolling Stone, Aug. 9, 2007