Agony & Irony
Agony & Irony, Alkaline Trio’s sixth studio album, may not be the expected follow-up to 2005 masterpiece, Crimson, but for loyal fans it’s one more notch in the band’s belt of great releases.
Having recently left their long time home of Vagrant Records for the greener pastures of Epic, their major label debut finds the Chicago princes of pop-punk turning their attention back to the days of new wave. While the teaser EP that previewed this full-length had a cover that paid homage to Joy Division, the band’s latest batch of songs have more in common with New Order than with the darker moods of the Ian Curtis-led band. However, singer/guitarist Matt Skiba admits that the band’s lead single, “Help Me” was a song inspired by the recent Curtis documentary, Control.
New wave elements may be all over this record, but the band still has their feet planted in melodic punk. Songs like “In Vein,” and “Over and Out” sound as much like The Clash as they do The Cars. Let’s face it, a lot of those new wave bands were just punk bands that found a place on MTV anyway. They all haunted the same streets and drank the same beer.
In spite of the band’s long time fascination with death and darkness, Agony & Irony has an overall tone of resolution and hope. It’s not so much in the lyrics as in the tone. Time, age, and maturity have sneaked up on Matt, Dan, and Derek. The result is a new era for Alkaline Trio that feels a little bit lighter, but no less fun. These songs still stand up against the band’s classics.
Songs to start with: “Calling All Skeletons,” “Help Me,” “In Vein,” “Over and Out,” “Love Love Kiss Kiss.”
Alkaline Trio: www.alkalinetrio.com