“Shape Shift With Me”
THE GRADE A
BOTTOM LINE Finding the freedom to rock even harder.
Against Me!’s “Shape Shift With Me” (Total Treble) finds the veteran punk band reveling in singer Laura Jane Grace’s newfound freedom with hard-hitting results.
Grace, who came out as a transgender woman in 2012, made a powerful statement about identity with the band’s 2014 album “Transgender Dysphoria Blues.” With “Shape Shift With Me,” she is once again balancing the personal with the political, but with a bit more subtlety and humor.
On “Delicate, Petite & Other Things I’ll Never Be,” Grace demands, “I wanna know how you stay you” over a sleek, danceable bass groove that wouldn’t have fit on previous Against Me! albums. They take gloom over the top on the Bauhaus-influenced “Dead Rats,” ending with the chorus that goth kids will soon be chanting, “Shallow graves for all dead rats! I like the dark clouds the best!”
Of course, that doesn’t mean Against Me! has lost its political edge, as shown in the ferocious “ProVision L-3,” a protest song about American surveillance named after an airport security scanner where Grace screams, “What can you see inside of me?” with thrashing rage.