Against Me!'s latest goes beyond the simple polemics of post-American Idiot punk and suggests that ordinary citizens may be as much to blame for America's current predicament as the present administration — well, almost, anyway. On "Americans Abroad," Tom Gabel likens his band's European tour to the encroachment of corporations like McDonald's: "Profit-driven expansion into foreign markets," he sings. "While I hope I'm not like them, I'm not so sure." But New Wave's best songs have little to do with politics: The infectious "Thrash Unreal" is a devastating portrait of the girl next door, imprisoned by unfortunate choices; "Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart," a heartsick duet between Gabel and Tegan Quin of Canadian indie sprites Tegan and Sara, resembles nothing so much as a beefed-up Rilo Kiley song; and "Stop!" uses an airtight disco beat lifted from Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" to urge responsible decision-making. New Wave is a lock for the short list of 2007's best albums and, presumptuous as it sounds right now, quite possibly the decade. It's really that good.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.