30 April 2014

Alkaline Trio - My Shame Is True

Alkaline Trio are one of those bands which I can go for years without hearing, then all of a sudden I will listen to nothing else apart from them.  By no stretch of the imagination are they one of my most favourite bands, but I have not heard a bad record by them.  When this came out I am sure that I gave it a list, but until recently I have not given them much thought.  However I was asked by a friend what I wanted for my birthday, so I suggested getting this.  After that I thought it was high time that their work was reviewed on the blog and what better time than with an album that I am not really familiar with and can give the gut reaction.  So before we start, a little bit of background - formed in 1996, the current line-up has been together since their seminal release 'From Here To Infirmary'.  Always a popular live band, they have been in the UK recently selling out venues up and down the country.  This album is their 9th studio records and was released on Epitaph records.  Inspired by a break-up with a long term partner, this album could swing one of two ways, now it is time to find out which way it falls.... (FYI - I will be reviewing just the 12 track album, there is a deluxe version which has an EP attached - you can make your own mind up about that part).

Starting with the delightfully titled "She Lied To The FBI", after a brief piece of radio static and feedback the first riff drops and it is as if they had never been out of my life.  This is an album which starts off with a bucket load of regret and sorrow has never had such a black sugar coating in a long time. Full of the expected emotional punk that has been the band's trading card, it shows the band have lost none of their charm.  The only single to be released from the album - "I Wanna Be A Warhol" - talking about wanting to be a piece of art and being on display for the significant other to see all the inner workings, warts and all. "I'm Only Here To Disappoint" comes next and is another slice of fantastic pop punk with a large layer of emotional lyrics which will have fans reaching up in choirs and weeping in equal measure.

"Kiss You To Death" follows next with a strangely haunting and almost rock n' roll vibe as well.  It they put a double bass on this one, it would have made a fantastic rock-a-billy song; however it is still a great punk song which shows the stronger side of the band's song writing.  You have the energy, the sadness, the lost and mournful lyrics - everything you would want from an A3 song.  After this we have "The Temptation Of St. Anthony" and this again is another great song from the band, at this point I'm just dancing around the house whilst it is on.  It may not be the most original material I am hearing here, but it is certainly one of the best slices of sadness that I heard.  "I, Pessimist" is the next track which is a large ball of anger that takes the world to task after it makes a mockery of the subject.  It is much more bouncy that a lot of the other tracks on offer here, but it is a gr

"Only Love" comes next and takes the band back to their melodic side and shows the bare bones of their soul, it has a grief that is like a chasm of the heart.  The band is on fire on this track, it might not be the most bouncy of work from them; but it is one of the top tracks of the album for me.  "The Torture Doctor" is much more bouncy and just keeps up the good work that has gone before.  Basically it is simple powerful emotional rock with a catchy chorus to have everyone sharing emotions in a much more positive way then keeping it locked inside.  It is quite possibly one the best songs I have heard from the band since anything off 'Crimson'.  "Midnight Blue" is a bit more basic that what has gone before, but sometimes it can work in the favour of the album when a track like this is made; it might not be the best song, it may unfairly be held as a filler track; but I would not say it is a filler as it still has a soul about it.

"One Last Dance" is another emotional track like most of this album is composed of and the rollercoaster is showing no sign of slowing down any time towards the end.  It is a powerful song that takes the listener to another potent memory of their own experience and shows it in a different light again. It is asking for a closure that might not be forthcoming if we are honest.  But it would be nice if that could happen for whoever wrote this.  "Young Lovers" is a similar beast to "One Last Dance" but with a bit more of a bounce.  It is catchy and fun, whilst still having the mournful sound that has been the album's calling card.  Ending the record is "Until Death Do Us Part" starting with an acoustic opening, this is a tale of someone wishing that they could right the wrongs that they have done and win back the love that has been lost.  It is almost so child-like in someways, sometimes you cannot have it back once you broke it; but it is still a good song that ends the album.  On the deluxe version you also have the four tracks which made up the 'Broken Wing' EP.

I really like this album, it is not a sugary pop punk affair by the longest of shots; but the Alkaline Trio have never been that sort of band to be honest.  There has always been more of the Joy Division about them than the more sunnier band of the punk world such as New Found Glory, Smash Mouth, etc, etc.  I find them more entertaining as the years have gone by and this is a return to that earlier vein of form.  There is not a weak track on the album and it is well crafted.  It might not be a stone cold classic, but it is very close indeed.  A triumph created in tragedy.

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

Top Track - The Torture Doctor

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Alkaline Trio website here

Here is a link to the Spotify version of the deluxe album

And here is a link for Deezer users

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