Punknews.org
Against Me! - Russian Spies [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)

Against Me!

Against Me!: Russian Spies [7-inch]Russian Spies [7-inch] (2011)
Sabot Productions

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: thepopeofchili-townthepopeofchili-town
(others by this writer | submit your own)

It's barely been a year since the release of Against Me!'s major label swan song, White Crosses, but the band have certainly been through a lot in that short amount of time. They lost their drummer; found a new one; left Sire Records (their home for almost a half-decade); started their own label; re.
iTunes StoreAmazon


It's barely been a year since the release of Against Me!'s major label swan song, White Crosses, but the band have certainly been through a lot in that short amount of time. They lost their drummer; found a new one; left Sire Records (their home for almost a half-decade); started their own label; recorded their own version of the One Tree Hill theme song; and toured with everyone from Silversun Pickups to the Dropkick Murphys. Somehow, in the midst of it all, they've managed to record a new two-song EP that is nothing short of fantastic.

"Russian Spies" is a bass-driven rock song that doesn't feel like it would be completely out of place on White Crosses, but it has a bouncier feel and its pace is more brisk than anything on that record. The lyrics have a stream-of-consciousness vibe about them, but seem to be addressing issues more pressing to the world at large than the more introspective White Crosses and the music industry-centric New Wave (2007).

B-side "Occult Enemies" is the catchier and more aggressive of the two tracks here. Its lyrics are simple: "Watch out for occult enemies" is the entirety of the chorus, but it's effective. The short, snappy chorus only serves to complement the verses, which feature some of the gruffest vocals we've heard from Tom Gabel in quite some time.

The two songs collected here are special, as they represent not only the recording debut of new drummer Jay Weinberg, but also some of the last songs recorded at long-time producer Butch Vig's Smart Studios. Weinberg is the youngest musician that's ever been a part of Against Me!, and the effect he's had on the group's dynamic has been interesting, to say the least. He's injected a youthful energy into the band not felt in quite some time, as anyone who's seen them live recently can attest to, and he does the same here. Both "Russian Spies" and "Occult Enemies" are speedier than we've heard from the band since the Eternal Cowboy days, and Weinberg's drums are a key factor in that urgency. Also notable are James Bowman's backup vocals, much higher in the mix here than anywhere on White Crosses. Vig's production feels a lot closer to what he did for the group on 2007's New Wave than his work on White Crosses, which is to say, the guitars are LOUD. This is a rock record, without a doubt.

"Russian Spies" and "Occult Enemies" are another step in the evolution of a band that seems to be constantly changing, but never wavering in quality. In barely five minutes' time, they manage to simultaneously draw inspiration from their storied back catalog without repeating themselves, and hint toward more great things to come. Against Me! have yet to disappoint.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Gaslight Anthem - American SlangAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyAgainst Me! - Searching For A Former ClarityThe Flatliners - CavalcadeAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Horrible Crowes - ElsieDead To Me - Moscow Penny AnteThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
PovichianVoyeur (October 13, 2011)

"Occult Enemies" is fucking kick ass... Russian Spies doesn't dissapoint either.

telegraphrocks (August 7, 2011)

"Occult Enemies" is one of the best songs Against Me! has EVER written.
"Russian Spies" is pretty sweet too.

traducereengleza (July 5, 2011)

I'll never get tired of listening to this:p

http://www.babylonconsult.ro

happynolucky (June 15, 2011)

this is pretty damn good

punkyopunk (June 15, 2011)

chiching!

luke12 (June 15, 2011)

Both songs would have been standouts on the last full length. Great new drummer, and their setlists look great from recent shows.

operationivy12 (June 14, 2011)

Listening to that cd makes me wonder if we can hopefully forget that "white crosses" ever happened...

LinoleumMagazine (June 14, 2011)

Also inb4 all the fucktarded comments about chiku-ah's... oh nevermind. Too late.

quickattack (June 14, 2011)

All this talk about their new energy makes me even more excited to see them tonight.

jacknife737 (June 14, 2011)

I really like it.

xherojuanax (June 14, 2011)

The songs are a bit too repetitive and near-identical structurally, but they grew on me pretty quickly. Also, I can't find Butch's name anywhere on this 7". The liner notes say that it was recorded and mixed by Mike Zirkel.

mattramone (June 14, 2011)

The only thing this seven inch lacked was a sufficient amount of chiku-ah's.

mattramone (June 14, 2011)

Also inb4 all the fucktarded comments about Tom Gabel's hair.

mattramone (June 14, 2011)

Hay u guiz i herd dey did stuf on a majer llbael r dey seloutz? cuz seloutz arnt punx. i bet dey dont even smell bad nemore.

conblake (June 14, 2011)

This 7 inch is better than half the stuff on White Crosses. "Occult Enemies" is goddamn great.

Bryne (June 14, 2011)

"Weinberg is the youngest musician that‚??s ever been a part of Against Me!, and the effect he‚??s had on the group‚??s dynamic has been interesting, to say the least. He‚??s injected a youthful energy into the band not felt in quite some time, as anyone who‚??s seen them live recently can attest to, and he does the same here."

QFT

xbat-mitex (June 14, 2011)

"They did a shitty job covering the one tree hill theme song."

You can't polish a turd. I mean you can, but that's just gross. So I guess it's more like You shouldn't polish turds, I mean Against Me could cover Nevermind in its entirety & it wouldn't become a better album, so it's not unfathomable that their take on an already awful song isn't so good, despite how good they can be. Just sayin

hayman (June 14, 2011)

Russian Spies is a damn good song.

AllAgesPete (June 14, 2011)

They did a shitty job covering the one tree hill theme song.

Exclusive Streams

Sponsored


Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go