Alkaline Trio
Agony and Irony


3.5
great

Review

by megalodon USER (19 Reviews)
July 7th, 2008 | 39 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Matt Skiba may be singing "Help Me" but the Trio doesn't need any help when it comes to writing damn good songs.

Nearly three years have passed since Alkaline Trio gave us "Crimson" in 2005. It was a departure from their roots as a pop-punk act and focused on darker melodies, lyrics and almost had a gothic or alternative feel to its landscape. Needless to say, "Crimson" was still a great record with enough hooks to get caught in your mouth so I have anxiously been awaiting "Agony And Irony" since I heard one of the singles from the album "In Vein" in April on the band's Myspace page. I was not disappointed in the least.

There was, of course, a controversy before the release of this album with Alkaline Trio ditching Vagrant Records and signing with major label heavy weights Epic. Being called sell outs by die-hard fans is never a good thing but it appears to me that many people have overlooked the fact that the band has always had the capability to sell a great deal of records and generate a huge fan base (not like they haven't already) so switching to a major just seems like the most logical move at this point in their career. If selling out entails having a large audience then they sold out a long, long time ago.

The nay sayers can nay all they'd like but "Agony And Irony" shows a return to form for Alkaline Trio. The more than radio friendly songs are still present but the songs laced with alcoholism and drug use have returned while still progressing instead of back tracking like so many bands do when one style doesn't work out. The opening track "Calling All Skeletons" begins with Matt Skiba's croon to the tune of a very upbeat guitar riff. This is how most of the record will fare as it plays on, the Trio never going faster than a mid-paced tempo but you don't have to play fast to have damn good songs and "Agony And Irony" is full of them. "Help Me", another single, has infectious melody and will be stuck in your head as soon as the song ends. The jazzy influence of "In Vein" is probably one of the strangest songs they have constructed but it hits hard with Dan Andriano's lyrics "I could feel my stomach rotting, you were so supportive as I drank through the pain" amongst many other memorable lines.

Dan only has four songs here which is a shame because his voice has improved ten fold and sounds better than ever. With Skiba dominating "Agony And Irony" the murky subjects of death, heart break and pessimism are explored throughout but sometimes the choruses are repeated one too many times kind of beating you in the head with the same phrase over and over again. Despite this sometimes annoying quality, you can look past it without even noticing most of the time and it becomes second nature to your ears. Melody is a huge part of the album, using synthesizers on "I Found Away", "Over And Out" and a few others making it similar but still very different from "Crimson". Matt Skiba's vocals are almost unrecognizable at first but as the tracks keep counting down you start to feel like you're listening to Matt on "Good Mourning".

Speaking of "Good Mourning", there are two songs that sound like they could have been written at that period in 2003. "Ruin It" and "Into The Night" are downright nostalgic, especially the latter. This is also the first Alkaline Trio record to end with an upbeat number where as so many others had a slower song or acoustic track as an outro.

"Agony And Irony" will most definitely be a major let down for the fans that hated "Crimson" and still want "Goddamnit" or "From Here To Infirmary" but if you're still waiting you should realize it's never going to happen. "Agony And Irony" is probably one of the best releases of this year, at least in my opinion and shows a band that used to play basements and bars growing up and taking on the world. If you've stuck with these guys through every record you won't be disappointed either. Alkaline Trio have matured with their song writing and you can hear it in every aspect of this record. So go out and get it.



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user ratings (404)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
Robert Lowe CONTRIBUTOR (3)
Torment and Coincidences...

Carter Vance (3)
Provides the emo-pop goods, but skimps on development, maturity....

Nevin (3)
Alkaline Trio's sixth studio effort is undeniably catchy, but severely lacks in the lyrical departme...

Corey (4)
It's not another Goddamnit or From Here To Infirmary but it's a damn good album....


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheStarclassicTreatment
July 7th 2008


2910 Comments


Hmm
Is this released yet?
If not save it in word cos its gonna be deleted

megalodon
July 7th 2008


108 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It came out on July 1st.

joshuatree
Emeritus
July 7th 2008


3742 Comments


i havent heard this yet, but i can see this being really really bad

SpinLightTwo
July 7th 2008


1043 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I enjoy it a lot.


CushMG15
July 8th 2008


1802 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I was really let down by this, only a couple of songs that I enjoyed. This might fall to a 2.5 for me.

Iamthe Nightstars
July 8th 2008


2281 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I listened to this off of their myspace and didn't like it much at all. Not one track stood out to me. Maybe it has to grow on me, but either way I'm pretty disappointed.

Edit:It did grow on me.

SpinLightTwo
July 8th 2008


1043 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't know man.
Most of the tracks are pretty ace, and while not showing anything extremely creative, it's a fun release with a good bit of feeling.

Willie
Moderator
July 8th 2008


16049 Comments


Album Cover: http://image.listen.com/img/170x170/7/5/4/5/1275457_170x170.jpg
Track List:
01. Calling All Skeletons 02. Help Me 03. In Vein 04. Over And Out 05. I Found Away 06. Do You Wanna Know? 07. Live Young, Die Fast 08. Love Love, Kiss Kiss 09. Lost And Rendered 10. Ruin It 11. Into The Night
Release Date: July 1, 2008
Why don't you hook up your review a little bit?


Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

porkchop182
July 10th 2008


151 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I didn't enjoy Crimson much and by the looks of this review I'm not going to like this either. Goddamnit was amazing but from there the band has slowly drifted downhill.
By the way nice review.

ValentinSelezynov
July 11th 2008


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Alkaline Trio are my favourite band, i've loved them ever since i was inspired to go and get From Here to Infirmary after hearing Private Eye.

Whilest i think Goddamnit was excellent, Good Mourning is my favourite album. I think it's a bit silly to moan about them releasing material that doesn't sound like Goddamnit. Bands evolve, and the Trio have evolved for the better. Or at least they did until Crimson.

This album is a little more "arena rock" than i like. It has some really cool tracks, like Calling All Skeletons and Love Love, Kiss Kiss, but other songs that could have been great are prevented from being so by mediocre choruses. Help Me being the main culprit.

Dan's songs are really great on this record. It's the first time i'd say he outdid Matt on an album.

Rawrz
July 13th 2008


151 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love this album and find it to be very consistent. It doesnt really have any truly stand out tracks like previous albums but thats because in my opinion every track on here is equally good. I was never expecting another Goddammit. I just wanted yet another great AK3 album and to me they delivered. There one of the few bands where i can say ive yet to hear an album from that is anything less then great.

porkchop182
July 13th 2008


151 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

After listening to the album I am mildly suprised, much better than Crimson however it does lack the punch of their earlier albums. Love Love, Kiss Kiss and Calling All Skeletons are the stand out tracks in my opinion.
They have taken a step back from their "punk" roots which for some will disappoint (me being one) but I'm overall very happy with this release.

delder1989
July 22nd 2008


44 Comments


Saw this band last night. Was mad fun. Album is pretty good with a few listens.

fireaboveicebelow
July 22nd 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

no way in hell is this a 4.5
the review doesn't even back the rating up

megalodon
July 25th 2008


108 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

When I first bought it I kind of jumped the gun on the rating. After multiple listens I've dropped it down to a 3.5.

Firecracker
July 25th 2008


106 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

When I first listened to it I thought it was terrible until it got to track 5, then it tailed off completely nearing the end of the album.
I listened more, and tracks 1-4 grew on me, and are actually quite good, track 5 I think is the highlight, but the rest is still not very good imo.
I was very disappointed with the release, being a massive trio fan.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 31st 2008


16089 Comments


whoah never even noticed this finally came out

BallsToTheWall
September 9th 2008


44594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wonder which of the two tracks on here are the ones that Ulver lended their help too. I'm very curious about this random meeting.

Digging: Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith

fireaboveicebelow
September 9th 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

wha wha whaaaat?!

BallsToTheWall
September 9th 2008


44594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Go to Ulver's myspace under blog entrys. Ulver also apprently remixed a Genghis Tron song.



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