Cry Club share heady synthpop cover of Against Me!’s ‘True Trans Soul Rebel’

The cover was shared “to celebrate the resilience and strength we see in the community every day”

Melbourne-based “bubblegum-punk” duo Cry Club have shared a cover of Against Me!’s ‘True Trans Soul Rebel’, turning the gristly punk rager into a breezy synthpop jam.

‘True Trans Soul Rebel’ was initially released on Against Me!’s 2014 album ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ – the first record the iconic punk outfit released after frontwoman Laura Jane Grace came out as trans. It’s long since become an anthem for the queercore community, with its striking, razor-sharp lyrics, tearing guitars and Grace’s eruptive vocal prowess making it an undisputed standout in the Against Me! catalogue.

Cry Club’s cover – shared earlier this week in an effort “to celebrate the resilience and strength we see in the [trans and gender-diverse] community every day” – flips the script on its stylistic character, with a soundscape instead driven by warm and prickly synths, shimmery keys and pared-back guitars evocative of ‘80s pop.

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Tying it all together is the honeyed and heartfelt performance of frontperson Heather Riley (who theirself is non-binary), channeling Grace’s self-empowered bite albeit with a brighter, more optimistic tone.

Have a look at the duo’s ‘True Trans Soul Rebel’ cover below, then compare it to Against Me!’s original:

“Trans Awareness Week may be over, but trans people aren’t going anywhere anytime soon,” Cry Club said in a caption shared with the cover. “It can be difficult, but being trans is beautiful and worth celebrating year-round.”

Cry Club released their debut album, ‘God I’m Such A Mess’, last November via Best & Fairest. Among the singles featured on it were ‘Obvious’, ‘Nine Of Swords’, ‘Lighters’ and ‘Dissolve’. The duo have since followed it up with a sprawling slate of covers, including a recent take on ‘Good 4 U’ by Olivia Rodrigo.

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Speaking to NME ahead of the album’s release last year, Riley explained how Cry Club serves as an outlet for them to articulate and actualise their gender expression. “It’s about being able to be the person I want to be, and the presentation I want to have,” they said. “No one can be like, ‘Oh, hang on, that’s really camp’, because we’re like, ‘Yeah, that’s the point’. If you’re owning it and just being as fully yourself as you can, no one can take that away from you.”

NME hailed ‘God I’m Such A Mess’ as one of its top picks for last November, with writer Alex Gallagher saying: “After a slew of buzzy singles, the Melbourne duo’s electrifying debut album cements their status as one of the more exciting, idiosyncratic acts to emerge in recent years.”

Against Me!’s last full-length effort was the record that followed ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’, 2016’s ‘Shape Shift With Me’. The band went on hiatus amid the pandemic, with Grace releasing two solo records in as many months: the album ‘Stay Alive’, and the EP ‘At War With The Silverfish’.

In a four-star review of the latter, NME’s James McMahon said: “There’s an argument to be made that ‘At War With The Silverfish’ is Laura Jane Grace returning to her natural habit.”

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