Sound — 8
Well, as I'm sure many Alk 3o fans have, I've been awaiting this with some trepidation. Good Mourning was a good album, but matching Goddammit or even From Here To Infirmary is not easily done, and I suspected things were heading downhill in terms of sheer quality. And the music generally is still satisfyingly effective, catchy, simple, all those things I love about (old) Alkaline Trio, but after a few listens to the album, I think it becomes clear that except a few standout songs, this is not an album to match their earlier work, even if it is a natural progression. The overall sound is similar to Good Mourning, which in my opinion is not great news compared to anything before that.
Lyrics — 6
The main reason I got into Alkaline Trio was their imaginative lyrics, and while I don't mean to have a rant, things ain't what they used to be. Perhaps the more angst-ridden songs seem fake now that they're living what sound like pretty damn good lives, perhaps if they dedicated more time to a cause (I was impressed they had a track of Rock Against Bush, even if it was something of a cash-in) rather than attempting to recreate or gradually progress from what gave them success earlier in their careers.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall I'd still say it was worth the money, it's not a terrible album by any means, Smoke, Burn and Time To Waste (amongst others) are great songs that catch the imagination but now that they're finally touring the UK and tickets are 20 odd, I'm tempted to say they've sold out and really are sucking money from their fans. Which is fine by me, anyone who can support a band who would do that is by no means a bad person, far be it from me to condemn anyone for such a thing. I'd still say I'm glad Alk 3o existed and produced 4 brilliant albums, it's just a shame that that's the average number of good songs and the newer albums. Ah well, where are you, my little needle?