My Shame Is True review by Alkaline Trio

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Apr 2, 2013
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.4 (33 votes)
Alkaline Trio: My Shame Is True

Sound — 7
Chicago punks Alkaline Trio have undoubtedly mellowed as they've journeyed through their 30s, but it would be unfair to say that they've been less effective. What experimental albums like "Crimson" proved was that they can use more than one or two formulae to sink their dark hooks into the consciousness, which has to be a consideration for a band looking to outlive its fifteenth anniversary. Love or hate that progression, 2010's "This Addiction" ended up reacquainting the band with their roots and "My Shame Is True" continues to involve them in the conversation. You certainly couldn't have a more respected name at the helm - Descendents drummer and volume fetishist Bill Stevenson produces for the first time, toeing the line as he always does between pleasant and invasive loudness. He knows how to make a modern punk rock record work. "The Torture Doctor" and electrifying single "I Wanna Be A Warhol" are tingling with energy, but as we've learnt the Trio don't just do punk anymore. The last third of the album puts melody before any aggression, and the lighter touch may not impress listeners who were stirred by the urgency of the first few tracks.

Lyrics — 7
This is the first time in many years that the Trio can base their morose tales on real, ongoing pain. Matt Skiba's been through a divorce, a relationship and another tough break-up since "This Addiction" but this album doesn't flick the raw nerve of their debut or channel the misery with such poetic sensibility as they have in recent years. You feel for him when he sings "tell me that everything will be okay/tell me that you're still in love with me" but such outpourings (and there are quite a few on this album) lack the wit and linguistic sneer that normally make him so effective. Perhaps he was best at conveying darkness when he was merely an observer to it. Dan Andriano, meanwhile, continues to inject positivity in small drops. Very small drops, as you might imagine, on "I, Pessimist" and "I'm Only Here To Disappoint" but greater later on, when his reflective mood provides welcome contrast to Skiba's faster, darker excursions. "I, Pessimist" is his first tilt at the high-octane punk sound in many years (Rise Against's Tim McIlrath is drafted in for the job) but the two voices don't quite fall in together. His warm, caring tone best suits sentimentality these days and his strongest contributions here are the tracks which exhibit it.

Overall Impression — 7
The good certainly outweighs the bad on "My Shame Is True". There's no shortage of hooks and "I Wanna Be A Warhol" is, musically and lyrically, the best single Alkaline Trio have put out in years. Exceptions to the occasional shortcomings are plenty from song to song but for a band with such a strong identity they seem, over the course of an entire album, not lost but not sure of what they want to do. Think of this as a well-framed collection of songs rather than a priceless work of art.

YouTube preview picture
YouTube preview picture

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    as an avid alkaline trio fan for the past 10+ years, i can truly say that this album is the best one they've put out in a long time. way better than agony and irony. and this addiction. still, i doubt it will ever beat crimson or good mourning.
    I respectfully disagree. I was dying to hear this album and was quite disappointed when I did.
    Fucking love the album. I like the fact that Eventhough a lot of the songs had the old school Alk3 drive musically that made them the greats that they are today, you hear that they're grown men with grown issues. And Dan writing the song around Tim from Rise Against in mind as guest vocals is pretty impressive and I think it sounds really good. Can't wait to see them with Bayside when they roll through Dallas. Long live the trio!
    I wasn't sure what to think after listening to some of these songs when they would put them out through the internet, but when I actually listened to the album on my big stereo I definitely changed my mind. Great album guys!
    This album is really good. Just listened. After all of these years listening to them, and as a child, I am very proud by how far these guys have come.
    Best album since Crimson for them. Not as good as Crimson by any means but still a good effort.
    Solid album and a pretty fair rating. This is certainly up to par with what I would expect from Alkaline Trio. After hearing those 2 sample songs I'm off to buy the album, I'm very happy with this release.
    This album seemed to be mostly filler for me. Maybe it's a grower, but I was very disappointed.
    i felt the exact way about this addiction so i haven't given up just yet! it already is growing on me thankfully
    This album feels like an extension of their last one. Maybe thats why it feels like a filler album but I still love it. i give it an 8. i dont really like the last 4 songs.