Thursday, August 03, 2006

against me...or you...a review

Against Me
"Americans Abroad: Live in London"

Live albums are always tricky releases; you can either have this awesome collection of songs or a document of how shitty you sound live. Plus, you're assuming that people would be interested enough in your band to demand a live recording. For example, I would never buy a live album from The Stills because they sound the same live as they do on their record. There's no witty back-and-forth with the audience, they're pretty much like, "Hey, we're The Stills and here's a song...." Against Me, however, are worthy of a live record.

If you've seen these guys rock a club or a basement, then you know that they get pretty crazy live, same goes for the kids who go out of their way to see them, too. The album captures all the raw energy that you'd witness at an Against Me show. What makes this particular live record so different is that you can hear every lyric that Tom Gabel sings, which is usually rare in live albums. Hell, you can hear the backup vocals, as well as the crowd chants.

All the favorites are on this -- "Sink, Florida, Sink," "Reinventing Axl Rose," "TSR," "Don't Lose Touch," they even threw in a new song (the title track).

Ultimately, "Americans Abroad" is able to avoid the biggest mistake of the live record by jumping from catalog to catalog, not to say that the set isn't diverse, but a bulk of the material is culled from their last two albums, "As the Eternal Cowboy" and "Searching For a Former Clarity."

There are very few live albums I would recommend as a starting point (this is especially true of punk bands like Against Me), but I would strongly recommend this one, even if you haven't heard the band before. At the very least, this album will serve as a buffer for the band's upcoming major label debut.


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