Alkaline Trio



by spoon_of_grimbo USER (74 Reviews)
November 25th, 2005 | 19 replies

Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

In the current wave of endless pop-punk stagnation, Alkaline trio are are a shining (red!) light, a band that have something more to offer than the bland, unorigninal chart-rimming boredom that bands like Simple Plan and Good Charlotte sh!t out on a regular basis. In all honesty, Alk3 are one of the very few bands today that are helping the genre to retain its dignity, through the medium of simple but catchy melodies, honest and heartfelt (yet not emo-cliched) lyricism, and that punk rock edge.

Turn the clock back 7 years or so, though, and they were just a bunch of teenagers who, having had limited local success with a string of self-released and indie-label-backed single and E.P. releases (which were later collected together on a self-titled compilation release), were heading into a studio to record their debut full-length album. "Goddamnit" is the fruit of their labours those 7 years ago, and to me, it still stands up as a solid album which can hold its own against the many brilliant works they've released since.

The line-up at the time consisted of...
Dan Andriano - Bass Guitar, Vocals, Acoustic Guitar.
Glenn Porter - Drums, Little Vocals.
Matt Skiba - Vocals, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar.

The band's recognisable dark lyrical style is present here, with such gems as "I was drinking you goodbye, A heart floats in the bay, From sour home Chicago, I hear it beating far away" ("San Fransisco"), "Tongue-tied, Bleeding from your eyes, Even Christ himself would cringe at the sight of your scars" ("Cringe"), "It's one or another between a rope and bottle, I can tell you're having trouble breathing" ("Trouble Breathing"), and "I wanna wake up next to you, Kissing the curve of your clavicle" ("Clavicle") among many others. Also, it seems that from the outset, the Trio had the vocal harmonies down to a tee, with both vocalists combining their efforts on many choruses, and trading lead vocals for more variety (although the Matt-fronted songs vastly outnumber Dan's on "Goddamnit" by 10 to 2!).

Something that became more of a rarity on later albums were the band's acoustic numbers, of which two are present here in the form of Dan's "Enjoy Your Day" and Matt's "Sorry About That," of which the latter is the better of the two, although it is endearing to hear Dan's youthful voice cracking occasionally (it seems he hadn't quite realised his singing potential back in '98!).

As usual, the guitar work on display is minimalist, sticking mainly to powerchords and higher one-string riffs, but never lacking in effectiveness or ear-pleasing ability. Dan's basslines are much more varied than those on the band's more recent albums, combining root note progressions that match Matt's guitaring with more complicated fills and mad fretboard runs. Glenn's drumming is exemplary, mainly due to his penchant for shoe-horning inventive fills exactly where you'd expect them, but also exactly where you wouldn't (!) amongst other simpler varied beats.

The production is the standard for independant label punk circa mid-to-late nineties, i.e. very raw, but with enough polish at the edges to make the mad collage of sounds coherent, and this sound quality complements the band's youthful, energetic, and honest approach to their music perfectly.

Highlights include opener "Cringe" with its pissed-off look at lost love, "San Fransisco"'s tale of drinking and homesickness, "Enjoy Your Day" for the amount of emotion Dan conveys in two-ish minutes of acoustic balladry, the romanticism of "Clavicle," "Trouble Breathing" with its story of a suicidal friend, and the closing acoustic mini-epic "Sorry About That."

Reviewing this as objectively as possible, I honestly cannot think of any downsides to "Goddamnit." Obviously some tracks are more memorable than others, as is the case with most albums, but there are no real duffers here. Possibly, you might find the album boring if you go in for musical wizardry and solos (like metal or prog), but then again, this band sit in my favourite 3 bands along with Strung Out and Children Of Bodom, despite lacking the musical finesse of those two bands, so even the lack of fret shredding isn't really an issue!

This album is only just short of perfect, in my opinion, which is why I am awarding it...


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user ratings (605)
other reviews of this album
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"Look at all those stars, look at how goddamn ugly the stars are."...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
November 25th 2005


this is only a fair album and a far way away from a 4.5/5. its not even A3's best one IMO

November 25th 2005


Album Rating: 3.5

I really want this cd. I have Trouble Breathing, and I LOVE that song. And I've heard Southern Rock and Nose Over Tail, which i love those songs. Pretty good review.

November 25th 2005


Album Rating: 4.5

personally, i'd consider all their albums to be about equal in their high quality, but thanks for the feedback guys.

and yeah chillbee, you should get this if you like those songs, ull enjoy it.

November 25th 2005


Great review, I can't believe it took so long for some one to do this.

November 25th 2005


Album Rating: 3.5

[quote="spoon_of_grimbo"]you should get this if you like those songs, ull enjoy it.[/quote]

I've been asking around on the forums for it, but one dude tried to help me, and my computer didn't accept it. Could anyone be so kind and send it to me?

Whoa this review has 3 neg-votes?This Message Edited On 11.25.05

Storm In A Teacup
November 25th 2005


Album Rating: 3.5

Some people are asses.

November 26th 2005


good review, this is my fave alk trio album very closely followed by good mourning, i have the special edition though with bonus tracks bleeder, cooking wine, my friend peter and 97. my 4 fave tracks on the album... which arent technicly on the album. if anyones gonna buy this i recomend going for the special edition... oh and it also has videos for 97 and.... something else on it. maybe this version is only available in the UK though, we get all the good extras :D

November 26th 2005


Album Rating: 4.5

yeah i got the special edition too, but i didnt review the extra tracks, cuz they're not technically part of the album as it was recorded, and they've already been reviewed by whoever it was that did the review of the self titled disc.

thanks for the comments, and thanks to anyone who didnt neg vote!

January 18th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

I really like this album. Alkaline Trio is really consistent and this is where they're work really started showing some promise.

January 30th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Good review. This is the trio's best album. I did a review. Not nearly as good as this, but I tried.This Message Edited On 01.30.06

March 17th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

K, I now own this cd, I don't know why I haven't posted yet. This isn't exactly my favorite CD, but there are some fantastic songs on it.

June 14th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

A great album by the most consistant band i know. Personally its one their best

I cant stop listening to clavicle, sorry about that and trouble breathing.

November 14th 2007


Album Rating: 5.0

My favourite by alk3, one of my favourite bands of all time.

Really love Matt's lyrics and his singing is so raw in this album makes it more real. Really good album, nice review.

January 19th 2009


This is my fav Alk3 record. Sorry about that alone seals the deal. Anyway there are a lot of other great tunes on this record as well.

July 27th 2009


Album Rating: 5.0

This is my first by alk3 and I love it so much.

July 27th 2009


this is good.......
from here to infirmary is so much better....

Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

I really love listening to this album because it’s so great musically. Sure, the guitar-work is rather simple, but it’s oh so effective & catchy. The drumming is great, and I think I could spend hours listening to Dan Andriano’s bass-lines. Dark lyrics & raw production are not usually my thing, but Alkaline Trio make them work through their passion. It’s actually difficult to pinpoint weaknesses, although I sometimes feel that the album does not demand me to come back to it… Maybe because there aren’t specific tracks that stand out from its consistent quality. ‘Clavicle’ would probably be the closest for me.

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