Alkaline Trio



by lunchforthesky USER (41 Reviews)
January 31st, 2007 | 17 replies

Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An excellent collection of covers and b-sides from the legendary pop punk trio. Containing many memorable songs often more so than those on their recent full lengths.

Some bands take a while to hone their sound, while others of course never quite manage it. However there are a select few that very early on in their careers discover the secret to making great music and stick at it. Alkaline Trio of course sits firmly in the latter camp, over the years they’ve made gradual changes to their sound but never have they released a bad or even an average album. Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano are without doubt some of the most talented song writers’ pop punk has ever seen. Personally I’m more an old school Trio fan, I got into the band like many in the From Here to Infirmary days and after seeking out their back catalogue I’m firmly of the opinion that their greatest works are also their oldest, namely Godamnit and Maybe I’ll Catch Fire. Yet Good Mourning and even Crimson are superb albums that I can come back to time and time again and never do they feel old. Progression has occurred however, from the raw feel of their early records to the more polished new material, across all their albums I can count on one hand the number of songs I would skip when listening to, in all honesty it’s probably none. Although Alkaline Trio have never received huge mainstream success they are by no means a small band. Here in the UK they can easily sell out 2000-3000+ venues, on the back of heavy touring and a constant string of quality releases rather than flash in the pan hit singles.

Although they have been through various different drummers over the years I always enjoy how each drummer brings something different to the table. Glenn Porter has an aggressive punk style which suits perfectly their early records, where as current drummer Derek Grant is far more complex and technical for the genre. In terms of guitar playing I’ve read before that Matt claims he can’t even play a C chord. I’m not sure how long ago that was taken but I’ll concede he’s no Hendrix. Of course Alkaline Trio’s music isn’t about technicality; it’s about honest songs that make you want to sing-a-long but at the same time retain that rock band quality instead of sounding made for the radio. For the genre Dan Andriano is a damn fine bass player, showcased more on the Indie releases he writes good, interesting bass lines which drive the songs on many occasions rather than falling back constantly on root notes. What always impresses me is that, although Matt and Dan write songs separately they still manage to form coherent albums with a similar feel rather than feeling like mess a songs that have been just thrown together.

This brings us to Remains, a collection of B-sides gathered from over the years, intended to serve as both a final release on Vagrant Records before the move to V2 and as an attempt to tide over fans waiting for new material. All of the material on display was recorded after the move to Vagrant so it’s a more recent Alkaline Trio sound. If anything this should serve as a reminder to everyone just how damn good this band are. Some of the material here could have been a top quality song on any of there albums. The album kicks off with the sublime Hell Yes. One of the best songs the band has written" I think so. Telling the tale of love lost, with all the references to Satan you’d expect from Matt Skiba and with a hook to match its lyrical excellence, one wonders how this didn’t make From Here to Infirmary. Lyrically it is maybe Matt’s first reference to the dark side so to speak, which later became very prominent on Good Mourning. Lyrics like, “I rejected the faith in your holy race is what it comes down to, you said everything would work out just fine I just went crazy, I’m better now having a good time being selfish, drunk, vulgar and lazy.” Its partner on the Hell Yes EP, Standard Break From Life is a somewhat weaker song but worth a listen all the same although UK fans will already have heard the pair as they were put on the UK version of From Here to Infirmary. Initially released on a compilation in between FHTI and Good Mourning Jaked on Green Bears reminds me off old Trio with better production. It’s simple but effective, with Dan’s bass particularly shining through his bass lines are great and are what make the song musically. The anthemic “I hope this is goodbye” outro makes it one of the best here. Dan’s vocals compliment Matt’s perfectly and the really nailed the harmony on this one.

Bless me dark father, I have sinned, I've done it before and I'll do it again, cause it keeps me warm and makes you smile, been beneath me all the while, hell yes

At this point we come to the Hot Water Music split EP. In my opinion Queen of Pain is the best Alkaline Trio song ever written and While You’re Waiting is not far off. Queen of Pain has got it all, beautiful brooding power chords which sit back in the verses before rising into majestic finale. The lyrics are some of the best ever penned by Matt Skiba, “There’s a fire forming not too far from here, out on the east coast maybe, its resides in you my dear,” and “You’ve got a funny way of showing off your bathroom surgery, you said you were just cooling down form plans of leaving me.” The song deals with the Heroin addiction of a friend of the band and you get the sense this is a very personal song for the band. If not coupled with Queen of Pain, While You’re Waiting would seem a classic and it’s a shame it doesn’t survive to make live sets. The One Man Army EP is significantly weaker however not without merit. Sadie is found here in a less electronic form to what made Crimson and Fine Without You is an equally fine effort. The songs on the One Man Army EP are strange because they are far simpler that anything on Good Mourning or Crimson and it seems like the Trio decided to put their material unsuitable for the more mature Crimson on this EP. Warbrain, the song made for the Rock Against Bush compilation musically sounds similar to the One Man Army EP material, it doesn’t really stand out but it’s still a very good song, which could be a highlight for a lot of other bands. Four cover songs have managed to make Remains, those being Metro, Rooftops, Bye, Bye Love and Wait For The Blackout. Personally Rooftops, the Hot Water Music cover, is my favourite but all four are reasonable if nothing extraordinary. Far and away the weakest songs here are the Crimson b-sides, which do little over nothing for me.

This CD comes with a DVD release with some documentary footage and a few live tracks. I imagine a lot of people, myself included will already have all these b-sides, nevertheless I parted with my (Fathers) hard earned cash for the DVD, being the avid Trio fan I am. I think if you already own both the split EP’s then Remains is not worth the money but I imagine their out of print now and so if you haven’t then it is well worth the cash. I can honestly say I’ve never seen a better collection of b-sides than this, more proof that nobody is consistently writes song after song of memorable tunes quite like Matt Skiba, Dan Andriano and Derek Grant.

Recommended Tracks
Hell Yes
Queen of Pain
Jaked on Green Bears
Fine Without You

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Trebor. STAFF (4)
Alkaline Trio further cement their legacy as pop-punk legends with the release of their second top n...

craigy2 (4)

Comments:Add a Comment 
January 31st 2007


Great Review! I'll probably get this, I have most of the songs here in some shape or form but it would be nice to have them all in one place.. once again great review!

January 31st 2007


Hmm this could be interesting. Crimson is an awesome album as is From Here to Infirmary. Nice review as well.

January 31st 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

queen of pain, jaked on green beers, and warbrain = trio's best songs, by far!

i've got a copy of this saved at the record store for next time i come into some money lol...

i'd say this, and "cocktails and dreams" by lawrence arms are two of the best b-sides collections out there.

great review!

January 31st 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

It really is a damn fine collection and by this site's standards 3.5 is a very harsh rating.

February 2nd 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Crimson was awesome. I'll have to chek this out. Agree with "lunchforthesky", the 3.5 rating is pretty heavy.

February 2nd 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

I wrote the review

The Sludge
February 18th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

It's been a long time since I'd made loves to you.....

1500th comment!This Message Edited On 02.18.07

April 25th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Dead and broken is my favorite song off of the album so far, but while you're waiting, rooftops, old school reasons and warbrain are all contenders.

I cannot possibly get enough of Alkaline Trio

December 5th 2007


Shame with this album is there are a handful of mediocre songs but IMO there are also some of the best Trio songs ever. Now, as an album it would deserve the 3.5 but judging it as a B-sides collection, and knowing it is the best one I've ever listened, it would probably be more like a 4.5.

I'll rate it as a 4 but this album really deserves respect for being so awesome in its own "sub-type".

April 7th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

This release is solid from start to finish. I had most of these songs from their various releases all burned onto a cd but it was great to have them all in 1 complete package.

I enjoy the liner notes where they also give a brief description of each song.

A must have for any Trio fan. Even for someone who hasn't heard any of their material before, This would be a great intro to their music as the tracks are quite varied in terms of sound.

Warbrain is my favorite song on this release.

April 26th 2008


Alkaline Trio is up there with my favorite bands. Next to the Ramones, Iron Maiden, The Misfits, Bad Religion, Minor Threat, Jawbreaker and The Descendents.

"Hell Yes" is quickly becoming one of my favorite Trio songs with "Clavicle" "This Could Be Love" "Radio" and "Sadie"

Staff Reviewer
February 20th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

It has to almost be considered as “showing off” when a band can release a collection of B-Sides, rarities & live songs this good. Sure, there is some filler over Remains’ 22 tracks, but nowhere near as much as you would think for such a release. The main reason is because many of these tracks did not get cut from Alk3’s proper LPs because of their lack of quality, but more for their themes and/or style. Take ‘If You Had A Bad Time’, which is an uplifting motivational song that simply would have seemed out of place anywhere but here. Fave Tracks: If You Had a Bad Time, Hell Yes, Warbrain & Dead End Road.

September 7th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

This was my intro to Alkaline Trio, and what a great, long, intro it was. I listen to this album on road trips, it seems to last forever (in a good way). The included booklet detailing what the band thought of each track was really interesting to me.

Favorite track would have to be the cover of "Wait For The Blackout"

September 7th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, this is definitely a good starting point. Warbrain is probably my favorite Alk3 song.

December 5th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

Front page again, why not!

Staff Reviewer
December 5th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0


I reviewed it dude

December 6th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

For some reason it was showing up on my front page the other day in the recent review sections.

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