Alkaline Trio released Agony and Irony two years ago to much disappointment and sadness amongst my group of friends. The music was too polished, to blatent and well... you can read what I had to say here: http://www.joelapenna.com/blog/2008/07/alkaline-trio-breaks-my-heart
Tts just been a year and a half later but I'm pretty happy with what they've put out. One thing that bothered me most at that time was the divergence between their music and my life; I think I'm OK with that divergence now and I feel like the music this time around is less redicuolus and can more generically apply to listener's lives.
Given the general theme people speak of when describing this album is its throwback to old material much of what I've written here is along those lines.
This Addiction -- The first single off the album feels like it would fit between From Here to Infirmary and Good Mourning. Simple lyrics and riffs but more melodic than their previous efforts.
Dine, Dine My Darling -- Hopeful sounding song typical of Dan's newer songs (like Blue Carolina). "But these drugs are lame..." what? Its really catchy and quick and I do like the word play.
Lead Posioning -- "We're bitter now but better friends." Another catch rhythm guitar and I would love to hear this one on Rock Band. WHAT THE FUCK THERE IS A HORN. I was trying to trace the sound in this song but can't place it. Then I heard the horns. Then I heard the opening riff from "Goodbye Forever." Pretty interesting!
Dead on the Floor -- I'm immediately thinking "Radio," here. "Like two ships in the night we're colliding and sinking into the black seas of our love." -- No vampires, zombies or blood references. See? A bit more subtle. "I got off the plane with my heart soaring now its falling like snow."
The American Scream -- The last time Alk3 wrote a politically charged song, Warbrain I felt the song made little sense. This is a nice attempt but I don't associate politically motivated songs with alk3 but I still give this song a pass.
Off the Map -- "I'll lock it down and we'll make due." A song by Dan misunderstanding a situation and going so far off course everything looks peachy but he still can't tell if things are going to be OK. I'm cool with it.
Draculina -- I didn't like the opening verse but the chorus is pleasant enough but I especially dislike "I'm leaving for draculina, whoa oh oh oh." This is probably the worst track on the album. For poor language and over-harmonizing and whoa-oh-oh-ohs I'll delete it off my computer when I buy the album.
Eating me Alive -- Hi synth. You don't belong here. No thats not true; I like the psychadelic furs and that is who I'm going to have to say the music in this song comes from. I think I might actually like this song a lot. If John hughes were around we could have a cool movie with Alk3 on the soundtrack.
Piss and Vinegar -- "Feels like its raining all the time." I've heard that lyric before and I feel like I've heard this song before... uninteresting.
Dorothy -- Awesome opening riffs that immediately cut to a song that SHOULD have been on From here to Infirmary. So good.
Fine -- A really calm song to close out the albumn and while a song I'll listen to, I'll likely never put it on intentionally.
Overall, I'd say this album is not fast enough to say they've really gone back to their roots but has some really fun songs and they're doing some new things that don't suck which is quite a change from the last album. Then again, maybe I'm just wishing the album is better than it is.