Sound — 8
Well, here they are again: the good old Alkaline Trio. Back to spin their tales about drugs, alcohol, and heartbreak. Something about these guys has a tendency to set them apart from the rest of the pop-punk scene today: it's not something I can put my finger on, but it's a certain tonal quality which I find particularly enjoyable. It's obvious there's been a musical change from their previous album, Good Mourning, a delightfully dark work that signified a transition period. From Here to Infirmary was a catchy, occasionally poppy album with a few tracks prefacing Good Mourning (Trucks and Trains comes to mind), and then Good Mourning served as a median between the band's progression. We see a bit of light shine through on this album, at least more so than Good Mourning, and we realize the Alkaline Trio are headed in a new direction. You're likely to recognize riffs in this album: there are many that the Alkaline Trio use liberally throughout all of their albums. You may recognize the chord progression for the chorus of Time to Waste as the same as the chorus of We've Had Enough, their previous single. These riffs are catchy and can easily have vocal lines written to be equally catchy, and I'm glad the Trio continue to use them. A primary way we see the Alkaline Trio branching out here is instrumentation: you'll notice piano and keyboards in several tracks, with some actually reaching out and being somewhat complex (Time to Waste) and others being simple, yet extremely effective (Burn). Devoted fans will be happy to know, however, that not an incredible amount has changed. You'll still get remorseful songs and simple, catchy songs to strike a contrast. The sound hasn't changed an incredible amount, and many would argue that that's a good thing.
Lyrics — 8
After a lyrically captivating album like Good Mourning, which often set poetry to music, Crimson is just a slight disappointment. The lyrics on several songs are still clever (the chorus and interlude of Burn are primary examples), and some are still quite catchy and meaningful simultaneously (Mercy Me, Smoke), but they don't quite hold the same power that we experienced on Good Mourning. Regardless, comparing the lyrics to earlier works offers a glance at maturity. They mean a lot more than the majority of the simple rhymes experienced on Goddammit and From Here to Infirmary, and I hope Matt can continue to improve upon his current form and style. Speaking of Matt, I've always enjoyed his voice and likely always will. Dan Andriano provides a nice contrast as the baritone-driven, smooth singer in opposition to Matt's tenor-driven, raspy singing. They harmonize quite well together, and I still hold that they're likely the best singing duo in pop-punk at the moment.
Overall Impression — 8
Crimson delivers more of what Alkaline Trio fans want. They may not evolve an extreme amount with each album, but it's always just enough to keep things interesting and keep you coming back for more. The alcohol-induced love songs are here, along with the songs inspired by pent-up rage, and I can guarantee you they're still exactly what you love about the Trio. I truly hope these guys can continue their progression and keep producing quality albums in the future.