Review Summary: "So dream a good one tonight," old school fans were dreaming Alkaline Trio had never switched gears and gone commercial, but in retrospect they would all agree, "Hey at least it isn't Crimson."Good Mourning
is where things got tricky for old school Alkaline Trio fans. It's the last straw where the die hards could convince themselves they were still down with the direction the Trio was going in. "It's dark and catchy just like the first two albums I guess," they said, "It's not as raw sounding as I would like, but it's got Keith Morris doing backup vocals on it right? I guess I dig it." These are the sentiments the old school fans had at the time, if only they knew how lucky they were; once Crimson
came out they were clambering at Good Mourning
because at was at least kind of sounded like old school Alkaline Trio. The problem is that Good Mourning
is simultaneously too dark and too catchy. Most old school fans loved the band because of the balancing act they pulled, being dark but not too dark, and catchy without being pop. Here both styles are in full indulgence mode and it was simply too much for them to handle. For those that can get past the fact that this isn't the same Alkaline Trio, it's a very fun record that will make you feel all dirty inside for singing along to its grim yet sarcastic lyrics, having a great time in spite of the dark vibes Chicago three piece put out on this record.
has the band coming off of their breakout success From Here To Infirmary
with a new refined and darker sound that drew in even more fans. Alkaline Trio really stepped up their game in the songwriting department, the much darker tone overall allows for some nice dissonant melodies like in the opener "This Could Be Love," and some eerie organ in "We've Had Enough." The group also made a big addition at drummer with Derek Grant who would become the final member of the trio. His incredibly tight and intricate drum work sets the ground work for the band's tighter songwriting perfectly. His beats can be technical and interesting, but never take the focus away from the songwriting which proves why he is the best drummer Alkaline Trio has ever had.
If you especially love Dan's songs then this is the Alkaline Trio record for you as Dan contributes a record five tracks to Good Mourning.
Featuring his tightest songs yet Dan really shows off his growth as a songwriter from his humble beginnings on Goddamnit,
and even demonstrates that he could possibly carry an album by himself, which he later did on his solo record Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room. Dan's signature quirky voice fits perfectly on the upbeat and fun standout tracks "One Hundred Stories" and "Emma." "Emma" is a particularly stellar Trio track which features the first instance of Matt singing lead on a Dan track where he sings simultaneously with Dan in the chorus. The harmonized and catchy sing along chorus elevates the track into one of the band's best. Dan has two songs back to back for the first time on Good Mourning
which is really interesting, these being" Blue Carolina" and the superb "Every Thug Needs A Lady". Good Mourning
has zero filler thanks to Dan stepping it up with his upbeat tracks that serve as a perfect counterpart to Matt's dark and dreary contributions.
The production on Good Mourning
is much cleaner and more refined than any of their previous records, which attracted some new fans, but in turn alienated old school fans too. This trend would continue on the band's next two releases which by comparison drew a later admiration for this record by old school fans. This is the first Alkaline Trio record to heavily feature multiple guitar tracks in the mix and also has the band experimenting with some unconventional punk instruments like the bells in the opener and the organ in the second track. Good Mourning
was co-produced by the late Jerry Finn and it shows as he was one of the most accomplished producers in the scene valued for his ability to get a clean crisp sound from a band while still allowing the band to retain their raw punk edge. The overall cleaner and fuller production allowed the band to reach new heights with its blend of dark but catchy songwriting.
was a bit of a turnoff to diehard fans with its finer tuned production and accessibility, but it was still praised on a certain level; it wasn't until the group's next record that the final nail in the coffin was hammered with Crimson
. With its dark but catchy sound, Good Mourning
sits somewhere in the middle between the old school and new school trio fans; and while it lacks excellent stand out tracks like From Here To Infirmary,
it more than makes up for with its constancy and lack of filler. Good Mourning's
polished sound perfectly complimented the band when they were at their songwriting prime, and in retrospect stands as one of the band's best records.