Alkaline Trio

Remains

Written by: PP on 15/02/2007 15:04:00

Fact: Alkaline Trio very rarely writes bad songs. Fact: "Crimson" was much more darker than any of their previous albums but the songs were still great, albeit required much more time to grow on you. Fact: Alkaline Trio still has the wit many thought they lost after "Good Mourning". Myth: B-sides/rarities releases are always label attempts to monetarize the recently exponentially increased popularity of the band. Alkaline Trio's b-sides/rarities compilation "Remains", featuring 22 rare and never-before released songs, proves all the facts true and the myth false, and like its predecessor EP/rarities self-titled compilation seven years ago, is one of the best albums the band has released to date, because as you will soon find out, many Alkaline Trio b-sides are often even better than those that made it to the album. More often than not, the sole reason for their exclusion was that they didn't fit the theme of that particular album.

Around the release of "Crimson", many hardcore Alkaline Trio fans were extremely disappointed over the band's choice to abandon their bright semi-produced guitar sound in favour of an overproduced atmospheric gothic one aligned to the death-obsessed lyrics in Matt Skiba's lyrics. Because as fantastic tracks like "Sadie" and "Back To Hell" are, they were no match to the contrast of bright, almost pop-punkish sound and the witty lyrics about death, fire and boredom among other themes. I just hope "Remains" is a sign of things to come on their new album, because it contains some of the best songs the band has ever written, even if many of them originate from the "Good Mourning" sessions. Just listen to the bright guitars and the smart lyrics of "Hell Yes", dance along to the fast-paced and groovy "Dead End Road" featuring Matt Skiba's vocal work at its very best, or sing along to the most "Crimson"-sounding track "Metro"'s chorus, which may just well be the catchiest one the band has written to date. Nod your head along to the speedy "Naked On Green Beers", which sees Matt return to his passionate prolonged shouts where his voice breaks just like on many "Goddammit" and "From Here To Infirmary" tracks, enjoy the casual but oh-so-classic Alkaline Trio intro riff on "While You're Waiting", or fall in love with a 2006 live recording of "I'm Dying Tomorrow". There are plenty of classic Alkaline Trio moments packed onto "Remains" to easily lift it above releases like "Good Mourning" and "Crimson".

Nevertheless, not every track on "Remains" is golden. "Wait For The Blackout", for instance, sounds like it was written by Eve 6 rather than Alkaline Trio, "Don't Say You Won't"'s keyboards and bassist Adriano's rather unfitting voice together don't sound like Alkaline Trio as we know them, and we can only be thankful the awfully slow and cheezy ballad "Buried" wasn't approved onto "Crimson" after all. But these are all minor flaws on an otherwise lengthy and well written compilation of songs for all generations of Alkaline Trio fans. The "Goddammit" fans will fall in love with the fast-paced rawer recordings like "Rooftops" and the aforementioned "Hell Yes", the "From Here To Infirmary" fans will find the less pacey more witty tracks like "While You're Waiting" to their taste, and the atmospheric goth rock tracks like "Metro" and a new recording of "Sadie" will appeal most to the latest generation of Alkaline Trio fans. Therefore I'm going to close this review with another fact: Alkaline Trio b-side/rarities recordings are better than what most bands are capable of writing during their lifetime, and these are just the 'leftovers'.

Download: Hell Yes, Metro, Naked On Green Beers
For the fans of: Bayside, Hot Water Music, Against Me!, The Lawrence Arms, early New Found Glory
Listen: Myspace

Release date 29.01.2007
Vagrant

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