Agony & Irony
04 July 2008
by Sadie Gabriel
Agony & Irony is the latest kohl eyed piece of the Alkaline Trio‘s musical puzzle and they are back and as brutally morbid and beautifully melodic as ever.
Matt Skiba et al’s six full length LP is, essentially, their power chord filled stadium rock record. It takes Crimson‘s slow burning tales of Manson family members and wrongly jailed child murderers and replaces them with battlecries and handclaps.
The booze-stained brawling of early tracks such as Alkaline Trio‘s ‘My Friend Peter’ or Maybe I’ll Catch Fire‘s ‘Fuck You Aurora’ has been exchanged for a warm, thick slab of well-produced pop.
‘Calling All Skeletons’‘ chuggy, nailgun guitars boil into big-fat-choruses, while ‘Help Me’ could be a Cardigans cover penned by Danzig. ‘Love Love Kiss Kiss’, meanwhile, sounds as if it was penned from the bottom of Skiba’s bloodied, broken and stained heart.
Alkaline Trio have always been a gang of contradictions, a beautiful mess of contrary mary-isms. One moment they are the ying to Hot Water Music‘s hardcore yang, the next they are a goth-pop-metal mix of Misfits-meets-Cure madness with a (un)healthy dose of Anton LaVey.
Watch the video to ‘Private Eye’ by Alkaline Trio
Agony & Irony, which was released by Co-operative Music/V2 in the UK and Epic Records in the US, reflects this and ties up the loose ends from Skiba’s dark-pop-wave act Heavens and Adriano’s Lawrence Arms-melding side project The Falcon.
Once again, Skiba’s sharp tongue and razor pop voice stand out, elevating Alkaline Trio from just another pretty punk rock band to a band that it’s difficult to live without. And by continuing to release records such as Agony & Irony, I imagine, it will be difficult to live without them for quite some time to come.
Agony & Irony by Alkaline Trio is out now on V2 Records