Sound — 10
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.
Lyrics — 8
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.)
Overall Impression — 9
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.