Alkaline Trio

My Shame Is True

Written by: PP on 12/05/2013 18:47:54

"How young are you gonna be when you die?" asks Dan Andriano at the beginning of album highlight "Only Love", before morbidly crying out "I guess I never really thought about that. You're dying when you start thinking like that." It's an introverted philosophical question that lyricist Skiba directs mostly at himself, which is also presented to us in a different way during "The Temptation Of St. Anthony", where he croons "This agony, it's eating at my soul [...] You haven't lived until you've seen suffering like this" in one of the most back-chilling melodies we've heard from Alkaline Trio in years. Now, why begin a review of "My Shame Is True", their eighth studio album, with a lyrics quote instead of a traditional introduction of sorts? Well, because this is the strongest album Alkaline Trio have written lyrically since 2003's "Good Mourning", and because the album is awash with clever lyrical tidbits and catchphrases like these.

Incidentally, "My Shame Is True" is also the best Alkaline Trio album musically in at least a decade, perhaps even since their classic "From Here To Infirmary" record from 2001. While "This Addiction" and "Agony & Irony" were both solid albums, they didn't exactly contain material that's readily labeled as seminal within the genre, something which the band has otherwise almost always been known for throughout their career. "My Shame Is True" is an album that rectifies this situation by rejuvenating their sound that was in a danger of becoming somewhat stagnant. It occasionally felt like Alkaline Trio were just on autopilot writing decent songs, but were missing that heart wrenching desire to explore the most morbid feelings and thoughts of their inner destructive selves. Through songs like "Only Love", "One Last Dance", "The Temptation Of St. Anthony", "Midnight Blue", "She Lied To The FBI", or pretty much any song from this record, they re-discover their talent to write amazing bright melodies about dreadfully sad and gloomy topics. It is apparently inspired by a recent romantic break-up between Matt Skiba and his longtime girlfriend, which probably didn't go too well considering the heartfelt way in which lyrics like "there just ain't words to say how sorry I am.... for acting like a school boy trapped in a man" are sung on "One Last Dance", arguably one of the best Alkaline Trio songs since their classics era between 1998 and 2001.

Not only are the melodies some of the best of their career, but "My Shame Is True" also displays more variety than we're used to expecting from this band in the past. Opener "She Lied To The FBI" is an upbeat, bright track that almost classifies as pop punk given its high-octane speed and simplistic chorus, whereas already on the next track "I Wanna Be A Warhol" they dive head first into the somber melancholia that was the basis of 2005's "Crimson". Later, "I, Pessimist" showcases a harder-edged and more aggressive side to the band that we haven't really heard in the past, probably due to the melodic hardcore style guest vocals of Tim McIlrath (Rise Against) dueling against Dan Andriano in dynamic alternating verses. Sandwiched in between you've got a number of songs like "The Torture Doctor" and "Midnight Blue" which are as trademark joyous, bright melodies meet morbid lyricism Alkaline Trio as it gets.

When my least favorite song on your record is a track like "I Wanna Be A Warhol", you know the band have struck gold yet again as they have done so many times in the past. "My Shame Is True" contains the best songwriting from Alkaline Trio in a long while, and is potentially a top 3 record in their already fantastic discography.

9

Download: Only Love, One Last Dance, The Temptation Of St. Anthony, Midnight Blue
For the fans of: Bayside, GOB, These Green Eyes, American Steel
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.04.2013
Epitaph

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