REVIEW: Alkaline Trio – My Shame Is True

Alkaline Trio My Shame Is True Feature

ARTIST: Alkaline Trio
ALBUM: My Shame Is True
LABEL: Epitaph/Heart & Skull
GENRE: Punk/Pop-Punk

Describing Alkaline Trio’s aesthetic based off of the music they’ve made is not a hard task to say the least. Said in one of the plainest ways, the band could be considered a modern day punk rock version of older 80s bands like The Cure, The Smiths, and some others from that era of music. Dan Andriano, Matt Skiba, and Dereck Grant have nailed down a signature sound that has both crossed musical boundaries and inspired some of the greatest punk bands of today’s time through their soulful vocals, dark imagery-riddled lyrics, simple musicianship, and pop-esque song structures.

My Shame Is True may be the band’s ninth release to date, but there are no signs of things growing stale by any means. Starting off on one of the album’s catchiest tracks (“She Lied To The FBI”) isn’t the most surprising move in the band’s playbook, but it sounds very reminiscent of This Addiction’s “The American Scream,” and evokes this big opening to the emotional territory that will be touched on the 12 track album.

Skiba’s lyrics are as sore as ever with lines like “This agony, it’s eating at my soul, much like nothing this world has ever known,” you haven’t lived until you’ve seen suffering like this,” and “My heart is sad but true“ all appearing on “The Temptation of St. Anthony” and “Midnight Blue.” They do say “If it aint broken, don’t fix it,” right?

After realizing the prominence and experience that the band has, the concept of a band like Alkaline Trio wanting guest vocalists on new album is something to sit back and really think about. What are they trying to accomplish through the addition of more when what they already have going on works so well?  Upon my first listen of “I, Pessimist,” I had trouble discerning Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath’s voice when it was paired against Skiba’s, but after a couple of play-throughs of the album, I realized just how well they blended together for the track, and the same goes for Brendan Kelly’s work on “I Wanna Be A Warhol.”

This record goes pretty far on its own, but for the full experience, I would recommend buying the deluxe edition or the separate EP that was released at the same time, Broken Wing. Unlike most of the songs on the full length, the EP’s lyrics were all written by Andriano and add variety past what’s been done here with songs like “Pocket Knife” and “Sun Burns.”

To those wondering how I think My Shame Is True stacks up against the rest of Alkaline Trio’s past work, it’s pretty tough to call. I feel that no matter what I say, longtime jaded fans of the band are probably going to say that I’m full of it and that my opinion is as off as could be. The truth of the matter is that I see this as just another addition to an already solid and consistent catalog from a group that hasn’t had any major drops in quality since day one. It’s great, but nothing all too new or surprising by any means.

Rating: 8/10
Written by: Adrian Garza (Twitter)

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  • Dan sings on “I, Pessimist,” with Tim, just FYI. :)