Sound — 7
A 3-year waiting, Alkaline Trio's new album, Agony And Irony, was finally released in the early summer of 2008. As revealled in the earlier Agony And Irony EP, "Help Me, "In Vein" and "Into The Night" were the summary of the album. Fast, catchy, dark-lyred pop punk songs, which is something the Alkaline Trio always good at writing, are included in this album as usual; such as "Calling All Skeletons", "I Found Away" and "Love Love, Kiss Kiss". The sound of this album is kinda different from what they did; and if you listen to all their old albums one by one, you will realise that the sound of different albums are different; from the more underground / independent-sound of From Here to Infirmary (and the pervious 2 albums), to the harder sound of Good Mourning and the more mature Crimson. Though, there aren't much songs which can gve you a great impression as what in Crimson can give. So now let's review all the songs briefly. 01. Calling All Skeletons - a catchy, energetic song with typical Alkaline Trio-type lyrics, which is the best thing to start an AT album. 02. Help Me - it's a typical pop punk song with a positive message: There's a "someone" who has chosen to live in his/her own way, and the "I" envy at that and wish that "someone" can save him from his life and gives him the courage to start his own life. 03. In Vein - with Dan Andriano as the vocal, he does has done a great job. It's one of the best among the rest both lyrically and musically. 04. Over And Out - it's a touching ballad about war, which has been righly-positioned -after 3 catchy songs and before another fast pop-punk journey- so that listeners can set back and save the energy for the next song begin. 05. I Found Away - another anti-war song, but with tougher and faster sound. Nice work with good lyrics, a must-listen track. It definitely has the potential to be the next single. 06. Live Young, Die Fast - I have to say it's the worst song in the album. 07. Love Love Kiss Kiss - with Dan Andriano responsible for the vocal again. A typical pop punk song. Not good, not bad, not impressive. 08. Lost And Rendered - a song that deserves high attention in the album. There is an intro which with echo like what appears in the play. That's what make this song stands out from the others. 09. Ruin It - again, Dan Andriano as the vocalist this time. Strangely, the intro sounds similar to one of the Rise Against song (in Sufferer And Witnesses). Sounds pretty good, not strong enough though. 10. Into The Night - with familiar guitar riff after the line "This carrion has been forgotten" (chorus)and between the "into the night... " (the end). maybe just too poopy and cheesy. 11. Do You Wanna Know? - a good closing song with temper speed. It's a very AT and very Crimson-styled song. Again, it's Dan Andriano.
Lyrics — 8
Lyrically they have done a very good job as usual. The most impressive ones must be "I Found Away" (Over the fear and through the flames / I'm diving in don't follow me / Stay right here I'll be back for you someday) and "Ruin It" (But I don't wanna let go of my age / Cause it's the salt, that brings the taste / This scorched and rocky field / Will camouflage my skin). Comparaed to other bands in the same genre, their lyrical composition skill is one of the best out there. You can check out songs like "In Vein", "Lost And Rendered" and part of the "Love Love Kiss Kiss" to prove their writing ability. There are 2 songs which are lyrically awful. "Live Young, Die Fast" - Absolutely cheesy and shallow. "Love Love Kiss Kiss" 's first line in the chorus (Love Love, Kiss Kiss blah blah blah), it's getting annoying when they got repeated over and over again; luckily this song still got a cool bridge and some other lines.
Overall Impression — 7
Overall it's a better-than-average album. An Alkaline Trio fan will love it, while others might find it dull / boring / not impressive. Lyrically it's great while musically is still halfway there. The songs with Dan Andriano as the vocal are great, because in Crimson, his songs are not as stand out as Matt's. If you like pop punk or want something easy-listening to spend your summer on, this album is a pretty good choice.