Taking a side-step from Against Me!, Laura Jane Grace has allowed herself to cut loose on her new solo project. Inspired by the late great Tom Petty, ‘Bought To Rot’ takes the punk energy of LJG’s day job and adds a flourish of heartland American rock to the mix. If the songwriting is derived from the classics (there’s more than a hint of ‘London Calling’ in opener ‘China Beach’), the lyrics are straight-down-the-middle rants and ramblings, about life on tour, divorce and depression.
‘I Hate Chicago’ is a mischievous rant about the Windy City, cursing the traffic, the locals' manners and everything else til Laura reveals she’s just pissed that her ex still lives there. Just don’t let Pete Wentz hear this one or we might have an Upset Throwdown on our hands.
‘Apocalypse Now (& Later)’ carries a more laidback folky vibe coupled with the most obvious Petty chorus on the record, both in the simple melody and minor to major chord movement. There’s a lo-fi feel to all these recordings, with the reverberations between the three-piece band audible between the clatter of guitar, bass and drums. While ‘Bought to Rot’ lacks some of the emotional impact of Against Me!’s finest work, it’s a side-project rather than an attempt at an opus, and we can forgive LJG for wanting to have a little fun.