Review this album
Jul 13, 2013Wow, this album really snook up on me. Given the Alkaline Trio's recent releases being fairly lacklustre, I wasn't expecting much especially given the artwork and song titles. This album however really proved to be very surprising. There's way less of the distinctly mid tempo slower tunes that don't really go anywhere and in there place are a bunch of songs that sound far more alive than they have done in years. The previous album This Addiction took this approach to a lesser extent and contained more tracks that I'd find myself skipping over more often than not. This album however is full great cuts and I find I can listen to most of them without issue. Songs like Kiss You To Death and Only Love despite their corny titles really offer something more. Kiss You To Death for instance tricks you into expecting a plodding retread of an Agony and Irony cut and then rips into a riff straight from their early days which will be massively familiar to anyone who's listened to the song Goodbye Forever. This is not a bad thing though as I can forgive the Trio for using riffs that resemble other songs of theirs because it is 'their' sound and its just so good to hear it again and again. Only Love sees Dan at his finest turning what could have been a big ol' box of cliches into a meaningful and very listenable track. There are some lesser tracks on the album such as The Torture Doctor, The Temptation of St Anthony and closer Until Death Do us Part. Tracks of this nature are not bad by any stretch, they just don't suit my tastes as much as the aforementioned tracks.
Moving on to the musicianship and lyrical content, for which the trio are well known for, its really solid this time around. The guys are as tight as ever and Derek Grant on the drums is a super under appreciated drummer. It may not sound like he's doing anything majorly technical but if you know what your listening for some of the accents and flourishes he adds to otherwise commonly used drum beats sets them apart as something superior. Dan is all over the place on this album, in a really good way. He is one of the most inventive bass players in punk and its good to see he hasn't lost his touch with cheeky little licks that intersperse his solid rhythm drive. Matt is up to his usual tricks, whilst he's not the most technical guitarist ever damn can that man write catchy solid riffs. It also makes me feel like you don't have to be a fret wanker to succeed in music which is refreshing to say the least.
Lyrically the album is generally solid with some classic trio lines although the album is not totally devoid of a few corn ball lines but hey, the rest of this album is so good and the lines delivered in such a charming fashion I'm willing to let them off. Now moving onto something interesting and unfortunate. If you haven't purchased this album yet, if you can get hold of it and don't mind spending slightly more, the Deluxe Edition is well worth getting hold of. The bonus tracks you get with it are actually really great for the most part and I feel like they should have actually replaced some of the weaker tracks on the album. Pocket Knife for example is a great track with its transitions between fast pace classic trio and their newer more melodic direction. Its such a shame however that the four bonus tracks won't be heard by many fans who only get the standard edition because adding them to the album instead of the lesser tracks would undoubtably raised the general reception of this album.
Anyhow, in closing its great to see these guys finding a better balance between the old and the new. I feel this transition can be a troubling one for many bands. Rise Against is a great example, I feel its taken them from Siren Sound of The Counter Culture right up until their latest End Game to really get comfortable in their evolved sound and balance it with their earlier sound. My Shame Is True feels very much like this for the trio. Give it a listen and decide for yourself, I truly hope they follow this road because if they do they could be in for writing another classic like From Here To Infirmary.… Expand
Jan 2, 2014My Shame is True was a friendly reminder of why I love Alkaline Trio so much while giving me few new reasons. There's few tracks that will surprise you, and ultimately it's more of the same, but the 2013 edition. Matt Skiba is an artist with potential, and when he shows it, he shines. I fell in love with some songs on the album but there were a lot of tracks that were unimpressive for the most part. Skiba sounds like he's giving a select few his all, while letting a few others pass as fillers.… Expand