Laura Jane Grace is the one constant in Against Me! since its inception in 1997, so it wouldn't necessarily seem like she'd have the need to create a separate solo project. Nevertheless, Bought to Rot -- the 2018 debut of Grace & the Devouring Mothers -- is musically distinct from anything in Against Me!'s extensive catalog, relying heavily on sharp-edged power pop and garagey stomp. Grace credited Tom Petty, a fellow Floridian rocker, as an inspiration for Bought to Rot and it's possible to glimpse hints of his classicist aesthetic beneath Grace's keening vocals and the ramshackle roar of the Devouring Mothers. That said, it's only a faint echo, or perhaps a unifying principle, that allows Grace to write her tightest, hookiest set of songs. If Against Me! is designed to get underneath your skin, Bought to Rot is meant to worm its way into your mind, where the riffs and melodies can wreak havoc. Grace can still seem consumed by angst and anger, but she dilutes her bile with a dose of humor: witness the coiled "Amsterdam Hotel Room" or "I Hate Chicago," where she rails against the Windy City because it reminds her of her ex. When combined with the gut-level hooks, this barbed wit results in a record that's simultaneously immediate and enduring: the first listen demands attention, but it's the left turns, in both the lyrics and melodies, that make Bought to Rot so satisfying.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine