Shape Shift with Me
After 2014’s weighty Transgender Dysphoria Blues, an unflinching album that dealt mainly with lead vocalist Laura Jane Grace’s gender transition, the seventh album from Florida punks Against Me! was always likely to be a more tempered affair. With a fresh line-up behind her (drummer Atom Willard and bassist Inge Johansson join founding members Grace and guitarist James Bowman), Grace says Shape Shift with Me was her easiest album to write, a story of romance seen from a trans perspective. The thrilling ProVision L-3 kicks things off in fierce and fabulous fashion, with Grace shouting, “What can you see inside of me?” over a pummelling riff, possibly a reference to both an emotional stance and the intrusive airport security scanner that gives the song its title. Grace’s lyrics are scathing and humorously provocative, providing a voice for the voiceless, but it’s songs such as the stomping Dead Rats and the intense Norse Truth that keep the punk raging, even if the album strays close to radio pop at times.