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Askew Review 15

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AGAINST ME!- Searching for a Former Clarity (Fat Wreck) Front man Tom Gabel is one helluva poet.  Seriously, the manís lyrics are far and away the finest Iíve heard in years.  This discís title track, a sparse, raw rumination about the self-realization that comes with dying a slow, painful death has literally given me goose bumps every time Iíve listened to it.  Powerful, powerful goddamn stuff.  ďFrom Her Lips To Godís EarsĒ is the best scolding of Condoleezza Rice youíll ever hear, and it just moves like a muthafucka.  Thereís a nice variety of tempos and styles- all serving as the backdrop to Gabelís impassioned yelling- on Searching for a Former Clarity that makes it hard to classify this as just punk or rock or folky punk rock or any damn thing like that.  And this really speaks volumes about what a quality band Against Me is.  This said, itís now time for the other shoe to drop (squarely into a pile of [bull] shit, probably): As much as I like what these songs say, at least half of them donít really do it for me musically.  Itís sort of like having the choice between banging your very cool, incredibly funny yet sort of homely platonic female friend or the vacuous, annoying, gum-snapping yet drop-dead gorgeous babe you just met at the bar.  Against your better judgment, youíll probably go with the looker because she just inflames your unreasoning id so much more.  And this is why, as much as I like and respect this release, Iíll probably listen to its more hooky lowbrow contemporaries exponentially more often. ĖBen Hunter

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