Alkaline Trio – Agony & Irony


Artist

Album

Agony & Irony

Label

Vagrant/Shock

Year

2008

Genre

For Fans Of

Bayside – Angels And Airwaves – The Loved Ones

Summary

Skiba and his troops have done it again…

Rating

94 / 100

As a long time fan of the Alkaline Trio I was incredibly excited to receive a copy of their new record, however their last effort, the patchy and somewhat inconsistent Crimson, had give me reason to raise the question of whether or not Matt and co were past their peak. Well, I need not have worried, as Agony & Irony is (in my humble opinion) the band’s strongest record since the breakthrough, From Here To Infirmary. 

The choppy guitars and instantly catch melody makes “Calling All Skeletons” the perfect album opener, the rolling bass lines and bouncy drums ably assisting in giving the song an almost pop feel, not to mention the chorus is one of the strongest the band has penned in the last five years. After a brief but effective piano intro “Help Me” works its way to another classic Alkaline Trio chorus, one that is no doubt going to be sung back at the band by their hordes of fans. 

“In Vein” is the first vocal contribution from Dan Andriano (bass/vocals) on this record, and although it doesn’t have the same instant catchiness as the Skiba led tracks its dark and murky take on pop-rock still proves itself to be an integral part of the Alkaline Trio sound, while “Over And Out” takes things down a notch with its bass heavy verses… that is until the up-tempo chorus has us singing along all over again. 

“I Found Away” sees the band incorporate a synth part into the already engaging riffs, the four to the floor beat of the drums giving the chorus a real kick that is matched by the grooves and harmonies of “Do You Wanna Know”. “Live Young, Die Fast” sees Alkaline Trio at their dark and introspective best with yet another killer chorus and although it’s still a solid song in its own right, “Love Love, Kiss Kiss” is doesn’t do enough to stand out from the rest of the record.

Conclusion

Long term Alkaline Trio fans will be happy with the eerie sounding “Lost And Rendered” and the slightly more aggressive “Ruin It”, with both tunes showing just how unique and multi-layered the band’s sound is these days, which just leaves the creative guitar work of “Into The Night” to cap off an already stellar record (although those of you who were lucky enough to get the limited edition release will have an acoustic version of “Love Love, Kiss Kiss” tacked onto the end). 

Please let the 2009 tour rumours for the Alkaline Trio be true. I need to hear this record live!

Tracklisting

  1. Calling All Skeletons
  2. Help Me
  3. In Vein
  4. Over And Out
  5. I Found Away
  6. Do You Wanna Know?
  7. Live Young, Die Fast
  8. Love Love, Kiss Kiss

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