By now, I figured I would have given up on the inebriated threesome known as Alkaline Trio but something keeps bringing me back. In my early high school years, I received a Vagrant sampler from Interpunk containing the song 'Bloodied Up'. Needless to say, I was immediately hooked. However, there can only be so many letdowns before the skepticism starts to solidify. Yet, somehow I still continue to hold some faith in Alk3. Chalk it up to every record post 2005 or the nostalgia behind certain tracks. Maybe I'm just subconsciously crossing my fingers for an album that rivals From Here To Infirmary. Either way, after one tedious (and unsatisfying) play of their new record, This Addiction (Epitaph Records) It may be time to face the proverbial music and hang up that dream. They crushed it completely this time.
More or less, my sentiment for the new Alkaline Trio record, This Addiction is akin to what was felt following the first listen, or better yet, the first time I was subjected to Agony and Irony in 2008. That being said, this album is leaps and bounds better than their last shit heap. It's just a different kind of heap this time around. The thought of Epitaph releasing this gave me an inkling of optimism but just like it's predecessor, This Addiction remains uninspired and void of any noteworthy aspects. Every track sounds like it took the band 10 minutes to complete and they just become increasingly predictable as the record plays on. In the song 'Lead Poisoning' there's maybe one part that stuck out to me, reminding me of classic ALK3 but this feeling is short lived. Consequently, I decided that certain part was 'just okay. Being stoked on any of the songs is almost impossible. Most I found difficult to even listen to entirely. I would typically take the time to break down the songs but truthfully, there's nothing to dissect. It's cut and dry. Clear as day. Mediocrity at it's finest.
Personally, I already feel that this record makes Crimson that much more enjoyable. At least they still retained that dark edge from their previous classics (Maybe I'll Catch Fire, From Here To Infirmary) on that record. The band obviously tried to dig up their punk roots for this one. There are glimmers of their past, sure, but it still falls incredibly short, almost feeling contrived at times. Apparently, some listeners are already quick to say that This Addiction is the bridge between Good Mourning and FHTI. I fail to hear this at all. Straight up, this is just pop. Aside from lyrical content, the chorus for the title track is on par with Green Day's latest radio smash. Just forced pop-punk tendencies strewn about a rock record with the meticulosity of confetti. From the chord progressions to the placement of vocals to the empty production, it's clear. There's little to no semblance of punk left in Alkaline Trio.
Regardless, this will be loaded to my Ipod, if for nothing else but the small hope that it grows on me, gaining them back a fan. Though, this is all just just wishful thinking. Sadly, like a meth head trying to kick the habit, This Addiction probably won't be spun again.
Alkaline Trio - This Addiction