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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Alkaline Trio: seven albums in and still kicking

Posted By on Sat, Apr 3, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Another band that I cannot fall out of love with is Chicago’s Alkaline Trio. They were the soundtrack of my high school years, yet their music was able to age with me, well into my 20’s. Few bands work harder and release more music than they do. After only 13 years as a band, they have managed to release 7 albums, 4 EPs and countless one-off tracks for various compilations.

Many would argue, however, that the band’s best years are behind them. The power-trio functioned best when they wrote songs about being young, drunk and brokenhearted. Now that they’re all middle-aged, sober(ish) and married, they’ve kind of run out of stuff to write about. A few of the songs on their last few albums seem to have come from a special dark place in their hearts, but for the most part, the band has just been writing well-crafted filler.

With their 7th studio album, This Addiction, the band attempts to recapture the sound of their glory days. The results are surprisingly good. The opening title track immediately conjures up (positive) memories of their earlier material. In fact, the first half of the record is incredibly solid, especially the near-perfect, mid-tempo “Dead On The Floor”, which could hold its own against any of their beloved older material.

The second half of the album merely drifts by, but the closing song, “Fine”, is a fine piece of songwriting and lyrics like “If I’m the captain of this boat/ then all of my shipmates are fools/ and all the stars in the world/ couldn’t help me steer my way out of this kiddy pool” reflect the band’s growth from achy-breaky punks into bona fide musicians.

So if you were once a fan of the band but had given up on them because of their last few albums, This Addiction is definitely worth a listen. It just might rekindle your faith in the band. But if you’d never heard of them before, I still suggest starting with 1998’s Goddamnit or 2001’s From Here To Infirmary.

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