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.
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