Album Review Laura Jane Grace - Stay Alive

Laura Jane Grace – Stay Alive

Folk-punk at its most sincere.

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Immediately before the release of Against Me!’s earnest ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ in 2014, Laura Jane Grace led the charge on the stripped-back ‘True Trans’ EP. Delivered through an acoustic guitar, it presented her crucial words like never before. This powerful urgency underpinned the full band effort months later, and subsequent releases as both a member of Against Me! and The Devouring Mothers.

‘Stay Alive’ sees her return to that singular nature, her songwriting pushed front and centre in place of driving riffs and Americana tinged rock. It’s folk-punk at its most sincere, carrying the same politically and personal charge that has cemented her as such a mainstay in the alternative scene. Be it waving goodbye to lost years on ‘Calendar Song’ or the overt rage of ‘Hanging Tree’, Laura reflects on her own experiences to examine the shared experiences of the underrepresented and undermined.

Although previous work has never shied away from her individual experience, here Laura elevates her lyricism to new heights. By the final title-track of sorts, ‘Stay Alive’ carries a dual meaning - that life continues not just after but also during adversity. That anger and frustration can co-exist with hope. “Please stay alive,” she pleads, “please survive.”

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