Tom Gabel

Heart Burns

> > May 2009

Tom Gabel - Heart Burns
By Sheena LyonnaisThe debut solo EP from Against Me! front-man Tom Gabel maintains touches of Against Me!'s punk rock charm but with the addition of folk rock elements. Tracks like "Random Hearts" and "Amputations" are standouts, with their electric flair, catchy hooks and messages of hope. "Anna Is A Stool Pigeon" is the crowd pleaser about Eric McDavid, the anarchist environmental activist now jailed after unknowingly falling in love with an F.B.I. informant. "Cowards Sing At Night" deals with John McCain's inability to get over Vietnam. While this may insinuate this is entirely a political album there is also a lot of love, courage and integrity in the subject matter. Instrumentally it is rather minimalistic and at times, quite airy, but with production from Butch Vig and Billy Bush, and guest vocalists Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio) and Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music), the songs transform into poetry. While it boasts the cynicism of a country fighting its "father's wars," Gabel shows a great belief in humanity through his husky vocals and silver lining outlook. It may not be solid enough for anthems but this is definitely a great record worth fighting for.
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