Alkaline Trio

ALKALINE TRIO
‘My Shame Is True’
(Epitaph)

When you consider that the four Ds (drugs, drinking, depression and death) have been Alkaline Trio’s lyrical stock-in-trade for most of their seventeen (!) year existence, it’s amazing that ‘My Shame Is True’ (their ninth album) sees the Chicago crew sounding so vital.

The opening ‘She Lied To The FBI’ and ‘The Temptation Of St. Anthony’ belt along with the kind of hooks and addictive choruses that bands half the Trio’s age would kill for, replete with Matt Skiba’s black-humoured story telling. So far, business as usual – and business is good. ‘I, Pessimist’, featuring guest vocals from Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath, is one of the best things the Trio have ever done, and should sound amazing live.

However, the songs that really colour ‘My Shame Is True’ are those of lost love and regret. Hardly fresh ground for this most endearingly maudlin of bands, but the likes of ‘Kiss You To Death’ and epic closer ‘Until Death Do Us Part’ could teach your average screamo band a thing or two about dealing with heartbreak.

“I hear the telephone works both ways/Think you can make a little effort someday?” croons co-vocalist/bassist Dan Andriano on the piano-laden ‘Only Love’. He sounds troubled, but hopefully he’ll find comfort in knowing that, with songs as good as these, we’ll be listening whenever Alkaline Trio call.

Alex Gosman