Thick and crunchy – two elements of musical creation extremely common and found in everything produced under the name, The Misfits (or just Misfits, whichever you prefer).
Obviously the idolization/influence is a given (see: their cover of “Halloween”), but Alkaline Trio‘s ability to blend this very haunting and vibrant element with classic punk themes (upbeat and repetitive styles) is spot-on in their new addition (9th studio album, holy shit!).
My apologies for parentheses overload – it was necessary. After only a year separated Matt Skiba and one of his many side projects, known as the Sekrets, he brings his talents back to the trio that essentially helped mold and create those other ventures. Honestly, Babylon (Matt Skiba & the Sekrets) impressed me more than My Shame Is True. Again, my apologies.
Don’t get me wrong, the trio’s abilities still leave me scratching my head. As previously mentioned, their mixing of genres (in a way) is absolutely brilliant. Perhaps, since Crimson released, I have always been left wanting more and more and it has created this sort of imaginary mental condition? It can be classified as a syndrome in some parts of the world. Similarly found with Protest the Hero, I somehow, someway cannot come to fall madly in love with Fortress or Scurrilous the way I did with Kezia. People call me crazy – again, it’s a syndrome people.
Let’s get into it, shall we?
My irks first – since I prefer to end on a positive note: Firstly, it is an almost exact replica of This Addiction. For those critical thinkers/analyzers out there, don’t start breaking this shit down, got it? My meaning is 100% derivative to the style and generic flow of the record. Now, one could argue there are break-points in each, sure (“Until Death Do Us Part” and “Only Love”). However, what made Babylon and Crimson so enjoyable was the simple fact that it absolutely bent you. In a good way, bending your mind is a feat. Expectations should never be getting bent and I understand this, but being Alkaline Trio sometimes carries that burden with it. Time to get off the bent kick – it is starting to get a little weird.
Secondly, it didn’t bend me – OK, done.
Now, what I love about the record. Getting back to where I started (since I am apparently a thematic writer, like my 1st grade teacher taught me), the blend is perfect. If you are confused by the notion, thick and crunchy, just listen to “Kiss You to Death.” Then listen to anything released by The Misfits – got it?
Since I am listening to the record on repeat currently, my repetitiveness is starting to kick in. Do you see it? While most listeners prefer something edgy and keeping you on your toes, the repetition of Alkaline Trio has always been something to fancy in my opinion. They create these tracks with an upbeat yet downtrodden personality – you can call me a sucker for this strategy (“I, Pessimist”). The trio’s skill is simple: they make you feel awful, while planting their tune into the back of your mind, never to vacate.
What truly sets them apart is Derek Grant. The drummer is ideal and pleasantly fills the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus styles with another creative and complicated performance. I have always recognized Grant as one of the most under-appreciated percussionists in the industry. A lot of punk-influenced drummers get lost in the sound, unless you can really pick it out – only then can you appreciate the power and difficulty.
Concluding (1st grade style), it is my impression that this album will sit pretty in my “Top 10 Most Listened To” list at the end of 2013. However, stacking it up versus the rest of Alk3’s discography – it is resting somewhere in the lower region.
Expectation can be a bitch, sometimes.
For Those Who Like: Hot Water Music’s Exister – Misfits’ American Psycho – Matchbook Romance’s Voices