I anticipated this release for a few different reasons: I was excited that the Alkaline guys found their place not only as recent addition to Epitaph Records’ roster (a move that I’m surprised didn’t formulate earlier) but also new business partners, unleashing the aptly titled subsidiary Heart and Skull Records. Like many before them, they set the expectation that This Addiction was a return to their punk rock roots and somehow—after their lackluster Epic/Sony release Agony and Irony in 2008—I believed them.
Like most albums these days—catching the ever-shortened attention span of modern day listeners—the catchiest of tracks are offered here within the first bunch. The title track and current single, “This Addiction,” could be mistaken for early Green Day with a chorus that’s reminiscent of Bouncing Souls—though altogether offering an addicting pop-punk treat of their own.
The first of only three songs offering Dan’s vocal duties, “Dine, Dine My Darling,” follows with a punchy, palm-muted rocker with yet another infectious chorus. Fans may be shocked or disappointed by the lack of Dan heavy tracks—it’s taken me a long time to warm up to his vocals throughout their career, so I’m partial to a Matt-heavy record.
Matt returns on “Lead Poisoning,” a simple, edgy, dark cut exemplifying just the type of tune I’ve come to enjoy by this band (both lyrically and sonically). They shock by spicing up the track with a horn sound that on every listen paints a neopolitan-like image of NOFX’s So Long and Thanks For All the Shoes.
The token macabre tone and play-on words shtick is prominent on cuts like “The American Scream,” “Draculina,” “Eating Me Alive,” and “Dead on the Floor.” All but the latter—for the most part—fall short of being overly memorable. Matt’s voice is almost as gritty and raspy on “Piss and Vinegar” as it was on my favorite Alkaline album (2003’s Good Mourning). The romantic epic “Dorothy” is where—along with Derek’s drumming—Matt delivers some of the strongest vocals of the lot.
Recording their sixth album back at home in Chicago at Atlas Studios with Matt Alison engineering and co-producing (like he did on their first three records) allowed the guys to emulate the original force and flame. It’s certainly (and fortunately) a little more barebones and thrusts more than their last couple releases. Just don’t expect a genuine setting combined with a fitting record label to serve as time machine.
…Weasel Was Here
Choice cuts: This Addiction, Dead on The Floor, Dorothy
out of 5 weasels.
(press PLAY for a free 30 second preview MP3, or track name for lyrics in a new tab/window)
1. This Addiction (FREE full track MP3 in new tab/window)
2. Dine, Dine My Darling
3. Lead Poisoning
4. Dead On The Floor
5. The American Scream
6. Off The Map
8. Eating Me Alive
9. Piss And Vinegar
“This Addiction” music video
Visit Alkaline Trio online: alkalinetrio.com
Never trust a weasel. Support the artist and find out for yourself. WestCoastWeasel.com encourages purchasing This Addiction locally at Red Cat Records in Vancouver, B.C, any independent record store of your choice or online here.