For Fans Of
Catchy, punchy, power-chord driven punk rock with lyrics that resonated with youthful angst, Alkaline Trio were an instant favourite amongst many in their formative high school years.
The band was a mainstay. However, with 2008’s ‘Agony & Irony‘ and 2010’s ‘This Addiction‘ the energy perhaps felt lost. The cliches too glaringly obvious. The synthesizers too prominent. Fast forward a few years and the band deliver ‘My Shame Is True‘. Is it the compelling return to form?
Instantly infectious album opener ‘She Lied to the FBI‘ is a welcome throwback to the mid-era Trio sound of ‘From Here to Infirmary‘. It’s arguably a fair bit brighter than the more gloomy Alkaline aesthetics, but the catchiness of ‘Fatally Yours‘, ‘Mercy Me‘ and ‘I’m Dying Tomorrow‘ is a fine way to kick things off. Album single ‘I Wanna Be a Warhol‘ and Dan Andriano-fronted ‘I’m Only Here to Disappoint‘ come next, and expertly demonstrate the band retaining the classic elements that made them so enjoyable in the first place whilst showing some subtle evolution and maturity – there’s a sense that this is how the songs on ‘This Addiction‘ should have sounded.
Continuing with this theme, ‘The Temptation of St. Anthony‘, ‘I, Pessimist‘ and ‘The Torture Doctor‘ keep things on target. Catchy, melodic and with that harder edge that the previous couple efforts lacked. It’s not all hearty punk rock singalongs though, with ‘Kiss You to Death‘, ‘Only Love‘ and acoustic closer ‘Until Death Do Us Part‘ proving that the band’s still got a penchant – and indeed, a knack – for sentimental balladry.
Produced by Descendents‘ Bill Stevenson, the album itself sounds slick without coming across as artificial – with synths and keys subtle and complementary rather than attempting to drive the songs forward. Guest vocal appearances by The Lawrence Arms‘ Brendan Kelly and Tim McIlrath of Rise Against are a nice surprise that help give the songs they feature on (‘I Wanna Be a Warhol‘ and ‘I, Pessimist‘, respectively) a refreshing touch.
With ‘My Shame Is True’, Alkaline Trio inject a much needed dose of the harsher edginess sorely missed from the past couple records, pairing it with a sense of maturity. It’s no ‘Goddamnit!’, and fans hoping for a straight-up nostalgia trip are likely to be disappointed – but, catchy and acerbic, it’s distinctly Trio.
1. She Lied to the FBI
2. I Wanna Be a Warhol
3. I’m Only Here to Disappoint
4. Kiss You to Death
5. The Temptation of St. Anthony
6. I, Pessimist
7. Only Love
8. The Torture Doctor
9. Midnight Blue
10. One Last Dance
11. Young Lovers
12. Until Death Do Us Part