Alkaline Trio

Is This Thing Cursed?

Written by: PP on 07/11/2018 21:09:23

After a brief period with records like "Agony & Irony" and "This Addiction" where their consistency came under question, it seems like Alkaline Trio are back on track based on recent output. "My Shame Is True" was a brilliant example of the band's cheerful melodies vs. dark lyrical universe at its very best, and their ninth album "Is This Thing Cursed?" is a throwback towards a soundscape of yesteryear with strong echoes of "Good Mourning"-era melodies mixed in with their more modern output. It's the longest pause between albums during their lengthy career, in no little thanks to Matt Skiba's involvement with Blink 182 lately, which could be why the band's soundscape feels revitalized by the older part of their discography. Sometimes a little break from songwriting allows a fresh perspective on your sound.

In that sense, "Is This Thing Cursed?" is a signature style Alkaline Trio album, a stellar mixture of the dark and the bright blended together through the art of upbeat punk rock melodies and a satanic lyrical universe. It's roughly divided into two types of songs. The high-paced, high-energy bangers with a pop punk vibe like "Little Help?", "Pale Blue Ribbon", and "Throw Me To The Lions" aren't that different from your average "This Addiction" track, although the latter is infectiously catchy in its own right.

Then you have the darker and more complex depth-laden tracks like "Blackbird", "Sweet Vampires", "Is This Thing Cursed?", and "Goodbye Fire Island" that charm through their nonchalant, yet infectiously catchy choruses that can be classified under classic, inimitably Alkaline Trio material. These are the ones that draw parallels to the "Good Mourning" and "From Here To Infirmary" records by providing a perfect balance between light and dark, between fast punk rock and alternative rock, and as such are likely to be fan-favorites for years to come. They're contemplative enough to require a few listens to absorb, yet deliver with harmonious, treble-charged choruses that will stick to your mind for months to come.

But although the record as a whole is notably darker than anything they've put out during the past fifteen years, it's still very clearly a post-"Good Mourning" album. The polished production, the upbeat songs and occasionally bright melodies suggest it's more like in between said album and "My Shame Is True", which isn't a bad thing but fans suggesting this is their best album since then probably didn't give "My Shame Is True" a proper chance: where that one is a classic in my books, "Is This Thing Cursed?" is merely a great album. But with thirteen excellent tracks without filler, it's safe to say punk rock's most consistent trio has done it again.

Download: Sweet Vampires, Blackbird, Throw Me To The Lions, I Can't Believe, Is This Thing Cursed?
For the fans of: Bayside, American Steel, GOB
Listen: Facebook

Release date 31.08.2018

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