Searching for a Former Clarity
With the release of “Searching for a Former Clarity,” a breath of fresh air is pumped into a suffocating punk rock scene. The band’s third full-length album shows a maturity and composure not seen in many independently produced records. From start to finish, this is a barrage of witty lyrics and powerfully catchy choruses. Whether frontman Tom Gabel and Against Me! are singing about their friends and hometown of Gainesville, or trashing the stagnant rock scene and state of our nation, these guys have a lot to say.
The band’s tempo has decreased since its sophomore release, “As The Eternal Cowboy,” although the song structures and melodies have developed considerably. Gabel’s voice has sunk almost an octave, which is slightly disappointing as it steals some of the band’s previous energy. Yet songs like “Problems” and “Don’t Lose Touch” make the album more enjoyable than any other punk rock CD released this year. An acoustic medley brings back memories of the band’s earlier days when Gabel was a folky acoustic guitarist. The song delves deep into an emotional well, describing Gabel’s personal battle against drugs. The contrast in satirical and personal songs make for an interesting duality not heard on many releases.
Through powerful guitar leads, bouncy bass lines and solid drum tracks, “Searching for a Former Clarity” harnesses the energy and convictions of this great band. Lyrically, Gabel continues to mature and analyze the world around him in a funny, sometimes cynical way. The band’s third release may not be their best, but it is certainly one of the best of 2005. .