Review Summary: The Trio try to recapture the glory days but fail kind of miserably
Billed as a return to the glory days of Goddamnit and Maybe I’ll Catch Fire, Alkaline trio’s 2010 release This Addiction seemed to be channeling From Here to Infirmary more than the trio’s earliest albums. Those early albums were heart aching blasts of pure energy and passion. Albums that showed a raw band whose adrenaline pumping firmness and alcohol fuelled heartbreak was incredibly endearing and contagious. There are no heartache anthems filled with the sore throat defiance of ‘San Francisco’ or ‘This is Getting Over You’ to delve into here, just more of the same gothic/bloody leanings that have plagued recent releases such as Agony and Irony and Crimson depending on whether you like the newer Alkaline Trio or not. But in reality, perhaps the songs and albums being drenched in blood and darkness is what has become so enduring about the Illinois three piece. Maybe this is what draws people to their unique brand of punk rock.
Despite their best efforts to recapture the energy of earlier days, This Addiction still feels somewhat stale, lacking a certain urgency and passion within the songs. Cuts such as “Eating Me Alive” and “Dorothy” fall flat and seem quite forced with the guitars and tone of Matt Skiba’s voice pushing them along slowly. It’s classic Alkaline trio but you can’t help but wish you could hear the heart breaking trembles in his voice that you hear on Maybe I’ll Catch Fire. “Piss and Vinegar” plods along at a steady pace but despite the infectious chorus it still appears half-hearted and unenthusiastic despite being a catchy slice of vintage punk. Even the horns in the bouncy stomp of “Lead Poisoning” can’t save it from being a hollow track compared to the heart on the sleeve, spill your guts poetry of the I Lied My Off EP. Yes, these songs are catchy in an Alkaline Trio kind of way but they lack energy and resolve.
However, the title track blazes out of the speakers in a surge of barreling guitars and soaring choruses and the Dan Andriano led “Dine, Dine My Darling” features a contagious bounce and positivity to it that is more than welcome amidst the inherent darkness. “So let’s dine, dine, dine my darling/Let’s have our last supper as us two lovers then we’ll dance real sweet and slow” Andriano shouts in his distinguishable register and with the guitars and drums hopping along behind him, it’s hard not to shout. Elsewhere the effective “Off The Map” just may well be the best and most enduring song on here, quietly skipping along to muted guitars and an inescapable beat. It’s simple, soft punk but it sticks with you the way a great Alkaline trio song tends to.
Although This Addiction has some memorable cuts of typical Alkaline Trio punk, it is not the return to their roots that Skiba and Co. had promised when it was released. Rather than diving into the raw and aching brilliance of early albums Alkaline Trio have their feet still firmly planted in the gothic leanings of their recent efforts. For fans of their newer albums, This Addiction won’t get many complaints but for fans wanting a return of the Trio of old I think it is about time we throw up our hands and give up.
- This Addiction
- Dine, Dine My Darling
- Off The Map
- The American Scream