Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Alkaline Trio
This Addiction
Heart & Skull/Epitaph

So Alkaline Trio are putting away the pianos and candelabras and going back to their three-piece, pop-punk roots. “About fucking time!” I hear you scream. 2008’s Agony & Irony took things way too far in the wrong direction. Now they’re trying to steady the ship and win back a few non-believers. They’re even releasing This Addiction on their own newly-formed label, Heart & Skull – a “joint venture” with Epitaph Records.

“This Addiction” (the song) is a perfect place for Alkaline Trio to start. It’s a classic-sounding, up-tempo Trio song with Matt Skiba comparing love to heroin addiction. Cool song, but they do hit that chorus one time too many. It sucks when it’s that blatant.

Sticking to their major-label-heroes-return-to-an-indie theme, a few song titles are classic throwbacks to horror punk: “Draculina,” “The American Scream” and “Dine, Dine My Darling,” a witty tribute to Misfits’ “Die, Die My Darling.”

“The American Scream” kicks into classic “Warbrain” mode and you can’t stop smiling. “Why don’t they just write 12 songs like that?” “Eating Me Alive” sounds like a better version of Agony & Irony. And bassist Dan Andriano singing “I’m Fine” ends This Addiction sad and broken-hearted…

Overall, This Addiction’s a lot more straightforward and personal than Agony & Irony. It’s more guitar, bass and drums (and trumpet on “Lead Poisoning”). Alkaline Trio have gone all out reconnecting with their up-tempo (but not quite as up-tempo) punk rock past. Like recording with old buddy Matt Allison at Atlas Studios back home in Chicago and starting their own label. But the best part is how light and unpretentious This Addiction feels. Where Agony & Irony drowned, This Addiction kicks around in the surf having a blast (albeit with a black heart). It’s got a pulse!


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