Against Me! - High Pressure Low [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Against Me!

High Pressure Low [7-inch] (2010)


Rebounding quickly from their fallout with Sire Records, Against Me! issued an acoustic seven-inch on Sabot Productions. Some folks weren't too keen on the group's last full-length, White Crosses. And by some folks, I mean me. This guy. That record broke my heart. But not even a Twitter lashing, which is surely the most responsible and levelheaded way to air grievances, from Gabel himself could stop me from checking out what else AM! had going on.

"High Pressure Low" was one of the stronger tracks on White Crosses, and it's actually better in acoustic form. This version adds some wood blocks, vibraslap and electronic flourishes. It was this kind of adornment that rendered Crosses tunes like "Ache with Me" silly, but here it makes the song a little more fun. Boosted by gang vox and political fervor, "High Pressure Low" is good plugged in, but darn near amazing acoustic.

The same cannot be said for B-side "Strip Mall Parking Lots". It's just Gabel with an acoustic guitar, which is fine, but the lyrics are infuriatingly empty. They're all scene description, no plot. The song is about having nothing to do in south Florida, and it proves the point a little too well. Gabel tosses out a bunch of images, like smoking cigarettes and cops being jerk-butts, but nothing really comes into view. The song is about nothing. Without a big chorus to prop it up, "Strip Mall Parking Lots" comes off as filler.

It's because of this, then, that the seven-inch becomes a placeholder. It's neither as good nor as bad as fans may claim White Crosses to be. It doesn't redeem/diminish the group, but it might appeal to collectors and apologists.