Tom Gabel, 'Heart Burns' (Sire)

6
Heart Burns
Critical Mass
Label: Sire

by Brian Raftery

On this mostly acoustic seven-song EP, the politically minded Against Me! frontman finds himself torn between we-can-do-this optimism (the nearly new-wave "Random Hearts") and shit's-going-down cynicism ("100 Years of War," which is about as subtle as its title). The standout, "Anna Is a Stool Pigeon," documents the true tale of an activist who was jailed after falling for an undercover informant; like much of Gabel's work, it's a love story and a cautionary tale.

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