Sound — 8
There have been some good vibes surrounding this album. Alkaline Trio left their major label in favour of their own imprint and have promised an album that exposes their punk rock roots. Now, history has taught us to always take such claims with a pinch of salt, but the hope of an album full of Clavicle's has become more difficult to ignore in some circles not that the band themselves ever actually claimed to be remaking Goddamnit' or anything. In reality This Addiction' is exactly what the Trio actually said it would be: a rock record with Chicago punk influence that shares the palette with the art rock and new wave from Agony & Irony', and takes the place of Crimson's theatre and mystique. The chord progressions that have been passed around the band's back catalogue like cheap whores make a welcome return be it C#5, A5, E5, B5 (This Addiction', The American Scream'), E5, A5, E5, B5 (Dine, Dine My Darling') or C5, G5, F5 (Piss And Vinegar'). They're tried and tested and are absolutely intrinsic to the band's charm, so right off the bat it's easy to say This Addiction' is far from a disappointment.
Lyrics — 8
It's a wonder that they aren't bed-ridden after fourteen years of lyrics stained by blood, sweat and vomit, but it just wouldn't be Alkaline Trio without a good exorcism. And once again, the crowning jewel comes from Dan Andriano; the utterly crushing Fine' rounds off the album in a way so sublime that for a moment you forget that the ten other tracks even happened. There's the odd blunder though Eating Me Alive' and Dine, Dine My Darling's rather twee rhyme scheme come to mind, with the former's cheesiness being matched only by the fruity 80's synth that accompanies it...which we'll just pretend didn't happen. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that would, for various reasons, say the same about 2008's Agony & Irony', but the band continue to benefit from the increase in vocal range and general singing prowess that both Andriano and Matt Skiba underwent during its creation. While there was a certain likeability to the pitchy, Nose Over Tail' approach to the songs of old, it's very satisfying to hear punky tracks like Lead Poisoning' with vocals that are absolutely bang-on.
Overall Impression — 8
In the interest of fairness, Alkaline Trio albums should probably all be reviewed after no more than two or three listens, because if you give them much more time, sooner or later, their tunes always get you. What can start as a skippable track can miraculously reveal itself to be a classic when you visit it next, but luckily that's not a two-way street. The faults that appear on the first few listens all wash away with time, which is quite frustrating for someone who needs to present a definite opinion, but hey, that's no big deal when you've got another quality disc from this fine band.