Out Today: Against Me!

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Against Me!
White Crosses
(Sire)

Against Me!’s fifth album starts big, with marching drums, ringing guitars, and frontman Tom Gabel bellowing full throttle about smashing something. It’s a triumphant-sounding anthem for the Florida quartet and a pivotal moment on White Crosses, its follow-up to 2007’s breakthrough, New Wave. The band’s rousing punk is more refined here, as Gabel becomes a sharper and more melodic songwriter. He’s an unabashed Springsteen fan, and there are plenty of times on White Crosses where he lets his Bruce flag fly high. “I Was a Teenage Anarchist” barrels out of working-class suburbia with purpose and heart. “Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?” asks Gabel. The album is filled with such resignation (White Crosses is as much about growing out as it is growing up). Toward the end of “Teenage Anarchist,” the music stops and Gabel yells out, “The revolution was a lie!” It’s a telling line from a political-punk songwriter who’s outgrowing the occasionally stifling scene. There are some clunkers here — a couple of limp ballads, an acoustic number — but White Crosses sounds like a defining album in the band’s burgeoning career. —Michael Gallucci (follow me on Twitter @mgallucci)

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