Review Summary: Rejoice old school and new school Trio fans, an energetic and sardonic record we can all enjoy!
Transitioning to a more commercial sound can be tricky. Making your sound more accessible to a wider audience while still keeping your original fan base is quite the balancing act. Miraculously Alkaline Trio were able to traverse this tightrope with the Chicago trio's third studio album From Here To Infirmary.
To be fair Alkaline Trio didn't change their sound that much. They mostly just simplified the song structures and injected 50 CCs of fun into the tunes. The sarcastic, relatable lyrics are still present, as are the high energy cymbal based drums, and most importantly all the heart and soul of Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano's songwriting is still there. The darkness of Maybe I'll Catch Fire
may be gone, but the refined song structures stuck around, as did the fun yet sarcastic nature of Goddamnit
culminating in a wider reaching sound that pleased old and new fans alike.
was the record that sloppily introduced Dan Andriano, and If Maybe I'll Catch Fire
was the record he started to find his footing, then this is the record where he completely found himself. Dan contributes a new high of four tracks to From Here To Infirmary
and each one is near the top of the best songs on the record. While three of his tracks: "Take Lots With Alcohol," "Another Innocent Girl," and "I'm Dying Tomorrow" are fun stand out tracks, they pale in comparison to his fourth contribution, the iconic closer "Crawl," one of the band's desist, most emotional tracks and a fitting closer to a transitional record. "Crawl" is such an amazing closer that the band attempted to emulate its glory on their 5th record Crimson
with the track "Smoke," a great track in its own right, but it couldn't live up to the band's best closer by far "Crawl."
How much you get out of From Here To Infirmary
has to do with tolerance for filler. While the record has some classic songs, it's hampered by a few filler tracks that destroy the flow of the album. Sandwiched between the fan favorites "Stupid Kid" and "Armageddon" are two of the weakest tracks "Steamer Truck" and "You're Dead." While "Steamer Truck" is an OK song, it doesn't really jive with the rest of the album, it alone wouldn't be enough to de-rail the whole record though, it's mostly "You're Dead" that sterilizes the record. "You're Dead" is a sloppy and uninteresting track that feels like it was recorded at the last minute to bring the track total to twelve. Bad tracks should at least have the common courtesy to be forgettable, but "You're Dead" is fairly memorable in its awfulness and the bad taste it leaves lingers on throughout the rest of the record. At least one of the band's best tracks "Armageddon" follows which is infinitely fun to sing along to and helps relieve some of the burden left by the previous two tracks. Unfortunately From Here To Infirmary
breaks down again with the penultimate tracks "Bloodied Up" and "Trucks and Trains." These tracks take some getting used to and can become growers, but at the end of the day they sound like inferior versions of tracks found on the band's next record Good Mouring.
I can appreciate the band for trying something new, but the songs don't stick and are out of place.
From Here To Infirmary
turned out to be a successful foray into the mainstream perfectly evolving the band's sound to be more mainstream while still keeping its roots, but it had some kinks that needed to be worked out. Unfortunately for most, Alkaline Trio would never be the same band after this which disenfranchised a lot of die hard fans. Every release after this one continued to alienate original fans more and more culminating in the band's latest release This Addiction
attempting to call back to this record. Ultimately From Here To Infirmary
is a classic batch of songs slightly spoiled by a few bad tracks that will forever stand as the band's only record to satisfy old schooled and new school fans.