Tuesday, March 2
An Alkaline Trio Cautionary Fairy Tale
Artist: The Alkaline Trio
Album: This Addiction
Short Review: Alkaline Trio shoots for a GNV FLA-style return to their roots, but returns continue to diminish on their sound.
Long Review: Once upon a time, there were three dudes who liked to drink and play punk songs about girls. They would write music that was big on harmonics and simple chords. They would pepper their lyrics with dark, Gothic imagery that juxtaposed with their pop sound in a fun, compelling way. Basically, they made music for romantics who wanted to kill themselves, but at least had a sense of humor about it.
So this band recorded an album and named it Goddamnit. The album became a classic, and established the band as an exciting new sound in punk. They toured the country, kept drinkin' and sticking to the formula that made them. They released a few more albums that all sounded pretty much the same, but had enough good songs and little sonic adjustments to keep their goodwill alive.
Things were going well enough for the band. Then they put out an album that had a lot of keyboards and synths. This album was more pop-minded and it played like an homage the groups the guys themselves grew up listening to. This album, let's call it Crimson, was released to mixed reviews. Some people really like it, but by and large folks flipped the fuck out and panned the album as shit. Regardless of how people thought about it now, it was accepted as their worst album.
The band took notice and went back to their roots, writing the kind of songs that made them famous in the first place. However, it was too late. They had stretched their tricks as far as they could, and now they were just repeating themselves. Sure, they could still turn out some good songs every now and again, but things were not looking good for the band. They spent their time trying to recapture their former magic using the same old tools, with diminishing returns.
So what happened to that band? That band that made some great tracks in their day, but really haven't contributed to their personal musical lexicon since 2003 (minus a pretty awesome b-sides collection in 2008)? They released an album called This Addiction, an album with a few good songs (“This Addiction,” “The American Scream,” “Dead On The Floor”) and a few more bad songs (“Dine, Dine My Darling,” "Draculina”) and one pretty crazy bonus song (“Two Lips, Two Lungs and One Tongue”). It is more or less the same album that the band has been putting out since the late 90s, only the sound is much more stale from all the ware. Diehards will like it, the casual fan will tolerate it, the uninitiated would be better to stay away.
And that, boys and girls, is the rise, fall and cautionary tale of a totally fictional band. We'll call them The Battery Three.
Key Tracks: The American Scream, Dead On The Floor, This Addiction
Buy, Steal, Skip: Steal