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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Review: Alkaline Trio - Crimson

Chicago's Alkaline Trio seem to have stolen the visual imagery of Stiffs, Inc, best described as undertaker chic from the beginning of the last century. What started as a drinking and cursing band became a depression and hell-vision trio. As long as it sells the units, I always say.

Formed in 1997, Alkaline Trio were a punk-pop band for adults, if not then older kids. Where the stunted adolescents of Green Day and Blink-182 wrote to their maturity level and fan base of 15, bands like Samiam, 22 Jacks and Alkaline Trio put childish things aside and provided hard and fast chord changes over powerful drumming and big-kid subject matters.

Crimson is more heavily produced and orchestrated than their earlier work, which at first is bad because there's a simple directness to the old stuff, but at this stage it's a smart move to widen their sound and fan base. Electronically treating the singer's voice to give a hint of harmony is to me the biggest change. They can write catchy melodies in their sleep and for their genre they're probably way, way up there. I enjoyed this branch of punk pop for a while and then left it for its components of full blown emo (Sense Field, Promise Ring) and 3-chord Ramones mania (Lillingtons, Riverdales).

The opening track, "Time To Waste", betrays a whiff of Duran Duran's "Girls On Film". The closing track sounds like the Psychedelic Fur's "Sleep Comes Down". My favorite song on the cd is "Back To Hell". Will I ever put this on again? Probably not, but that doesn't mean I didn't like it.


Blogger Richard said...

Somebody actually emailed me a ripped copy of this long before it came out because I've always been a big Alkaline Trio fan. Their last album wasn't a big letdown but left a lot of us longtimers, including myself, feeling a bit unsatisfied. The only thing I remember about the one listen-through I gave this new one was how corny I thought the vocal effects were. None of this is at all memorable compared to the great cuts on Goddammit and the singles comp or even their last two albums.

7:52 PM

Blogger Emerson said...

The lead vocal was treated on this cd to make it sound layered. I remember him having an interesting, distinctive voice. The worst case of this in my book was what Bob Mould did to his voice for Sugar.

1:26 AM

Blogger Richard said...

Funny, I thought I heard echo. I'm normally a big fan of layering (Lillingtons/Mass) but Matt Skiba has a powerful enough voice on his own that I think it hurt a lot more than it helped.

6:58 AM


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