In my view, Against Me! are one of the better punk bands of the modern age, though their vast discography is padded with a copious amount of songs that could be considered as ‘filler’. These two new tracks provide a great contrast, and promote the ever-changing tone of the band.

Led by transgender woman Laura Jane Grace, Against Me! have an intense sound, coupled with coarse vocals by Laura herself. The juxtaposition between Laura’s appearance and sound always inspires me and their 2014 album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, continues to motivate me to this day, so I may hold a slight biased towards them. The two songs, Stabitha Christie and First High of the Morning are totally disparate in tone, which provides a suited contrast in this abrupt release. With both songs at less than three minutes in length, they make for an easy listen and, for those who are unfamiliar with the band, I recommend these tracks as a vehicle to a brief introduction.

Stabitha is a petite power-ballad reminiscent of the golden age of ‘80s rock. It’s enjoyable, if not a bit repetitive, and it’s not going to be among my favourite Against Me! song. I probably wouldn’t listen to this one as much as the second song on this release, First High of the Morning. First High is a bit gentler and more relaxed to the previously discussed track and, moreover, it is comparable to the Transgender Dysphoria Blues album I mentioned before. It is reminiscent of Two Coffins and Black Me Out, both of which I thoroughly enjoy – so, naturally, I quite like this one.

Neither of these songs have any notable flair to them, and both are relatively repetitive in places. When I think of an Against Me! song, I expect stellar guitar riffs, upbeat tones, and songs that physically move me; when I first heard Talking Transgender Dysphoria Blues (the first song off their 2014 album,) I can’t help but move to it, even if it’s a mere subtle head nod. Neither of these songs really fill me with that kind of feeling, so I’m apprehensive to see whether this duo will go down as simple filler songs off a new album, or whether they’ll be the best of an underwhelming album: I sincerely hope it’s the former.

The songs aren’t bad by any means, with First High being more enjoyable for me. I just wish there was a little bit more to them; perhaps it’s the short runtimes, or maybe it’s the slightly monotonous and samey beats. Just shake it up a little, please; that’s all I’m asking.

2.5 / 5 Bytes.

Will Wilkins.




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