Released: Feb 23, 2010
Label: Heart & Skull/Epitaph
Number Of Tracks: 11
The Trio's rediscovery of their punk roots proves to be a successful venture, but 'This Addiction' could stand on its own two feet with or without it.
UG Team, on february 26, 2010 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: There have been some good vibes surrounding this album. Alkaline Trio left their major label in favour of their own imprint and have promised an album that exposes their punk rock roots. Now, history has taught us to always take such claims with a pinch of salt, but the hope of an album full of Clavicle's has become more difficult to ignore in some circles not that the band themselves ever actually claimed to be remaking Goddamnit' or anything.
In reality This Addiction' is exactly what the Trio actually said it would be: a rock record with Chicago punk influence that shares the palette with the art rock and new wave from Agony & Irony', and takes the place of Crimson's theatre and mystique. The chord progressions that have been passed around the band's back catalogue like cheap whores make a welcome return be it C#5, A5, E5, B5 (This Addiction', The American Scream'), E5, A5, E5, B5 (Dine, Dine My Darling') or C5, G5, F5 (Piss And Vinegar'). They're tried and tested and are absolutely intrinsic to the band's charm, so right off the bat it's easy to say This Addiction' is far from a disappointment. // 8
Lyrics: It's a wonder that they aren't bed-ridden after fourteen years of lyrics stained by blood, sweat and vomit, but it just wouldn't be Alkaline Trio without a good exorcism. And once again, the crowning jewel comes from Dan Andriano; the utterly crushing Fine' rounds off the album in a way so sublime that for a moment you forget that the ten other tracks even happened. There's the odd blunder though Eating Me Alive' and Dine, Dine My Darling's rather twee rhyme scheme come to mind, with the former's cheesiness being matched only by the fruity 80's synth that accompanies it...which we'll just pretend didn't happen.
I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that would, for various reasons, say the same about 2008's Agony & Irony', but the band continue to benefit from the increase in vocal range and general singing prowess that both Andriano and Matt Skiba underwent during its creation. While there was a certain likeability to the pitchy, Nose Over Tail' approach to the songs of old, it's very satisfying to hear punky tracks like Lead Poisoning' with vocals that are absolutely bang-on. // 8
Overall Impression: In the interest of fairness, Alkaline Trio albums should probably all be reviewed after no more than two or three listens, because if you give them much more time, sooner or later, their tunes always get you. What can start as a skippable track can miraculously reveal itself to be a classic when you visit it next, but luckily that's not a two-way street. The faults that appear on the first few listens all wash away with time, which is quite frustrating for someone who needs to present a definite opinion, but hey, that's no big deal when you've got another quality disc from this fine band. // 8
jrock91190, on february 26, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: First of all, I highly recommend purchasing the deluxe edition of this album, not only to get the acoustic versions of some songs (This Addiction, Dine, Dine My Darling, Dead on the Floor, and Fine) but also two extra songs that Dan sings that are excellent and worth the extra cash. This Addiction could be considered Alkaline Trio's back to the basics album recapturing the sound that gave them a huge fan base starting in 1996 and rapidly growing since their debut album Goddamnit (from 1998 and also re-released in 2008). Singer/guitarist, Matt Skiba, has said that the album sounds like if we were to make our first record now. Their old school sound certainly shines through on this album.
The sound on This Addiction is not quite on that level (early material such as Goddamnit or Maybe I'll Catch Fire), and in terms of speed it never gets that fast, but it is still heavy and catchy with the newer sound (Crimson and Agony & Irony) obviously influencing this as well. The keyboards are much less apparent on this album, as promised, and the songs are much simpler with basic guitar, bass, drum and vocal structures.
The album starts on a great note with the title track. This is the first single off the album and it has the old sound they were trying to convey with the upbeat rhythm and very catchy chorus. This is my favorite song that Matt sings on the album and his voice sounds awesome here.
After the title track, the songs stick with the simple chord progression and pop-punk sound that only lacks the speed of their older material. The musical style of "Calling All Skeletons" is really noticeable on several of these tracks. The opening guitar riff on Dead on the Floor may sound familiar to Trio fans with the Southern Rock type of intro. The rest of the song has a San Francisco type of feel to it.
Surprisingly for an Alkaline Trio song, horns are featured on Lead Poisoning, which adds an interesting dynamic to the song, giving it almost a NOFX type of sound. The song, Eating Me Alive, has a somewhat 80s sound with synthesizers added and I feel it doesn't take anything away from the song, though some fans may not like the keyboards. The simple and basic sound of the album is greatly appreciated and shows that they can still write punk songs. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics on this cd are very similar to everything else Alkaline Trio has made which works as usual. The clever word play and dark sense of humor makes the simple songs more unique and adds more substance to them. Lines such as: Now I lay me down to pass out wasted, again. Guess that makes this the seventh time this week. (from Those Lungs, a bonus track on the deluxe version) add the same sense of humor that they had on Goddamnit; alcohol-driven love songs that they've become known for. The lyrics on this album are enjoyable especially on Dan's songs and the title track.
I like Dan's songs on this album the most (Dine, Dine My Darling, Off the Map, and Fine) and his vocals are certainly top notch on this album. The only songs that come close to filler tracks are Draculina and Dorothy which Matt sings. I'm not a huge fan of these songs, but the lyrics are still decent on both of them.
I really miss the way Matt sang on older albums, as it made the songs more emotional (such as in the chorus of Radio after the quiet first verse, or the final explosive chorus of Armageddon), but I realize that they've gotten older and can't always sound the same. The closest that we get to that on this album is in the title track. Luckily, Matt is still a very talented singer, so the songs still sound great and the clever, dark lyrics don't hurt either. // 8
Overall Impression: Overall, this is a better album than Agony & Irony and almost as good (if not as good) as Crimson. This Addiction will please fans of either of those albums as well as the earlier material and their punk rock origins are very noticeable here. This album ranks eighth (out of nine, counting Remains and self-titled) to me only because of how much I love the other albums, which doesn't make this a bad record at all only bad in comparison to their previous work. The best songs are: "This Addiction," "Dine, Dine My Darling," "Dead on the Floor," "Off the Map," "Fine" and the bonus tracks are all quality additions.
I would consider this album a cross between the last album, Agony & Irony and the first album, Goddamnit because elements of both are so prominent. I definitely think this is worth checking out for any Alkaline Trio fan, especially if they liked the last album. // 8
a7xb4d, on february 26, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: While still producing a new sound that differs from earlier albums like From Here to Infirmary, Alkaline Trio has started returning to their roots. Many of the songs on This Addiction, like This Addiction and Dead on the Floor, are very similar in style to their older work. For old Trio fans this is great news, because most of them liked the older stuff better than albums like Agony and Irony (although it was still a great album). This album introduces a return to the old, punky, and somewhat sad style that Alkaline Trio has been known to be the master of. However, there are still traces of mainstream in the music, particularly in Eating Me Alive. Hopefully their next album will not have any mainstream left. Also drummer Derek Grant shows exceptional skill yet again in this album in songs like Fine. Personally, I loved this album and could spend several days just listening to it. // 8
Lyrics: As always, Matt Skiba and Dan Adriano create amazing lyrics. The best thing about the lyrics has got to be how well they go with the music. A particularly exceptional example of this is in Piss and Vinegar. The album features three song in which Dan Adriano does leading vocals (Fine, Off the Map, and Dine, Dine My Darling). While neither of the vocalists is exceptionally good, their voice goes extremely well with the style of music they're playing. My favorite couple of lines is from Off the Map:
"See I'm so far off the map the sun is shining,
While it's raining and I'm draped in silver lining.
And I can row, row, row my boat back to shore someday.
So are you coming with me?
Anchors away." // 10
Overall Impression: This Addiction is definitely one of Alkaline Trio's best albums. As I said, this album shows the band getting back to their old style. My favorite songs on This Addiction are This Addiction, Lead Poisoning, and Off the Map. My favorite thing about this album is the Trio's coming back to their old style of play, but still throwing in a bunch of new stuff (like the trumpet part in Lead Poisoning). However, Alkaline Trio still has some of that mainstream stuff going on in a couple of songs. A personal NOT favorite is Eating Me Alive. I can't stand the synths, I just can't take them. Also, I didn't really like Dine, Dine My Darling because of the feel of the song. It just didn't feel like Alkaline Trio to me. If someone stole this from me I would hunt them down, murder them brutally, and then take the CD back. Well, actually I'd probably buy it again, but I'm just trying to say that this new Alkaline Trio album is pretty awesome and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. // 9
unregistered, on february 26, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Following an album which many long-time fans considered to be a disappointing attempt at mainstream success in Agony and Irony, Alkaline Trio vowed to get back to basics and return to a musical style reminiscent of their older works. The Trio even used the same producer who recorded "From Here To Infirmary", the album regarded by many to be their best effort. The Trio's return to basics sounds as good as any of their previous works. Featuring its fair share of catchy choruses, this album, purely from a sound standpoint, definitely places Alkaline Trio back on the right track. // 10
Lyrics: The singing duties in this album, as with all Alkaline Trio works, are split between guitarist Matt Skiba and bassist Dan Andriano. Both have distinct, somewhat unusual voices which compliment each other quite well. Matt takes lead on eight songs as opposed to Dan's 3, a change from past albums where the split has been nearly even.
I have always considered Alkaline Trio to be a very strong band lyrically, but this album, despite having excellent moments (Off The Map, Piss and Vinegar, Dead on the Floor) seems to be slightly below par for Alkaline Trio lyrically. That said, my expectations for Alkaline Trio's lyrics are very high and the lyrics on this album, even at their worst, still are not half-bad. Dan's three songs are lyrically as good as Dan has ever written, but a few times Matt's lyrics don't quite live up to their potential and almost feel thrown together (This Addiction, The American Scream --- Yes, I understand many feel these to be the best songs on the album; they sound excellent, but I feel Matt's effort on the lyrics was not up to the bar he has set in the past.) // 8
Overall Impression: Alkaline Trio set out to return to the simplicity of their past, and thankfully succeeded quite nicely. While not being the Trio's best work by any stretch of the imagination (I would place this album at 4th best of their seven albums personally) this album reminds fans why the Chicago threesome has taken a place among the best pop-punk acts out there. The best songs include: This Addiction, The American Scream, Piss and Vinegar, and Off the Map. This album receives a nine out of ten as it is a return to form for a great band, despite not being their best work. Alkaline Trio did what I did not think they were capable of, they bounced back from Agony and Irony with an album which reminds listeners of the songs which made them begin to enjoy this band and hopefully will continue to. // 9