Review Summary: Alkaline Trio straddle the border between punk and new romance with stunning results
Following the moderate success of ‘From Here to Infirmary‘ and ‘Good Mourning’ Alkaline Trio’s now solidified line up of Skiba, Adriano and Grant recorded their 5th full length (not including their self titled collection of songs) album ‘Crimson’ in 2004 and released it in 2005. While many fans thought that ‘Good Mourning’ was a disjointed effort (not personally) ‘Crimson’ is a much slicker and together album, fully embracing the new romantic stylings and including piano harmonies and studio wizadry whilst retaining their signature dark sound and twin vocal assault of Adriano and Skiba.
For starters, fans who still live in hope of another ‘Goddamnit’ will again be disappointed but for the majority of fans who love anything that the trio put together will be more than happy with this release. ‘Time to Waste’ opens up with a twinkling piano lament which launches into a Skiba penned anthem which deserves to be a massive hit with its catchy chorus. ‘The Poison’ is an Adriano sung bouncy little number which rattles along with a pounding drum beat and probably the catchiest song the lads have ever written. ‘Burn’s slow almost industrial opening verse echoed with swirling guitars leads into the usual Alkaline Trio chorus, when I say usual chorus I certainly don’t mean in a derogatory sense, its just they have such a knack for penning anthemic chorus’s that you can imagine crowds singing back at them every word that Skiba emotionally out pours.
‘Mercy Me’ and ‘Dethbed’ are the usual poppy bouncy Alkaline Trio songs with bleak morbid lyrics, a choice cut from ‘Dethbed’ being “They found me face down in the street, On the night you left to find another place to sleep’, a tale of heartbreak and depression. ‘Sadie’ is possibly the most evolved and different that the band have ever sounded, the swirling synthesiser sounds that enhance the layered guitars during the song make the song sound huge, a real highlight and centerpiece of the album. The song itself is about Susan Atkins one of the Manson family and contains a chilling sample from her statement towards the end of the track.
‘Fall Victim’, ’Your Neck’ and ‘I Was a Prayer’ all see the band returning to the pop-punk style of From Here to Infirmary. ‘Prevent This Tragedy’ sees Alkaline Trio step out of their comfort zone again with a synthesised opening and the odd sample, the chorus reverts back to the Alkaline Trio sound, the song itself is about the West Memphis 3, a story of 3 youths imprisoned for a murder that it seems doubtful that they committed, for anyone interested in the story watch Paradise Lost:: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, a disturbing watch. ‘Smoke’ closes the album in glorious style with synthesized sounds and string parts over Dan Adriano’s vocals, the almost ballad like song sweeps along beautifully and really cements the album into an essential release.
For me this is the perfect Alkaline Trio album, its both gloriously dark and morbid and yet beautifully crafted and pieced together. For those who wernt keen on ‘Good Mourning‘s production and rather disjointed recordings can rest assured that this album sounds perfect and fits together amazingly well. This should have propelled Alkaline Trio into the mainstream. An essential purchase