Review: Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Published on January 27th, 2014 | Jonny Abrams
Where once Against Me! were susceptible to instances of run-of-the-mill punk-pop, on Transgender Dysphoria Blues – their sixth album and first since Laura Jane Grace’s publicly coming out as transgender – the quality control is operated more judiciously.
The songwriting is more refined and altogether classier, not least on the particularly-catchy-of-riff “True Trans Soul Rebel”, while the quite brutal degrees of self-reproach (“Is your mother proud of your eyelashes? / Silicone chest and collagen lips / How would you even recognise me?”) is tempered with an engaging and energising wryness.
“Look at all that pussy!” exclaims Grace on the self-explanatorily titled “Drinking with the Jocks”, before “wishing I was one of them”, an ambiguity that works thoughtfully in both directions – and then there’s the imperious grunge of “Osama Bin Laden as the Crucified Christ”, an early contender for Inflammatory Song Title of the Year.
For all that its title presents it as a uniform document, Transgender Dysphoria Blues is not found wanting for variety: there’s the acoustic strum of “Two Coffins”, the bang-up power-pop of “Paralytic States”, even an apparent music industry rant in the form of closing track “Black Me Out” (“I want to piss on the walls of your house / I want to chop those brass rings off your fat fucking fingers / As if you were a king-maker”).
Overall the lyrical content is of significantly more interest than its musical counterpart, but the straightforwardness is probably appropriate.
Transgender Dysphoria Blues is out now on Total Treble Music.
Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!