Laura Jane Grace And The Devouring Mothers “Bought To Rot”
Some artists never seem to be satisfied unless they are releasing material or collaborating with other musicians. That certainly seems to be the case with Laura Jane Grace. That’s good news for us where we get to benefit from both her ‘day job’ leading Against Me and other projects such as this.
Actually, opening number “China Beach” is a caustic hard rock song with a not dissimilar sound to Against Me. Certainly fans of that band will find plenty to enjoy in the hard punk rock sound of “Reality Bites”. Whilst “Valeria Golina” means the album is actually book ended with the ‘hardest‘ sounding tracks.
However, we expect the advantage of doing other projects is the chance to expand on your musical style. There’s certainly evidence of that on this release. In particular, there is a more melodic and almost commercial rock sound to tracks like “Born In Black” and “The Airplane Seat” and “Apocalypse Now (& later)”. These could even be radio hits over here in the conservative world of UK radio (or at least get played on BBC 6 Music). However, there is no cry of ‘sell out’ here. They retain a sense of edge and, as always, the lyrics deliver some important messages.
Indeed, there is no shortage of ‘acidic’ lyrics on this release. In particular it would be interesting to hear how fans in Chicago will relate to the bluntly titled “I Hate Chicago”! And “Manic Depression” shows that life is by no means a walk in the park. Whilst “The Friendship Song” details the benefits of having loyal and supportive people around you, it is supported by “The Apology Song” and it’s a reminder that none of us always get it right!
Overall, tracks like “Amsterdam Hotel Room” and “The Acid Test Song” are cleverly written songs that walk the line between being challenging but accessible. “The Hotel Song” is a poignant and slow ballad which again highlights how this release perhaps allows Laura Jane Grace to show a wider sound than the punk rock angst of Against Me. Given that band is itself one of the more experimental bands within the punk genre, it is to her credit that she is able to again offer something new and different via this release. The result is an intelligent and diverse album that will appeal not only to fans of her previous work but also potentially open up a whole new audience.