Monday, March 3, 2014

Church and Destroy!

Alkaline Trio
Good Mourning
2002, Vagrant
produced by Joe McGrath and Jerry Finn

Matt Skiba - vocals, guitar
Dan Andriano - vocals, bass
Derek Grant - drums

singles - 
  • We've Had Enough/One Hundred Stories/ Blue in the Face
  • All on Black/ This Could be Love
On this album, everything clicked for Alkaline Trio. They cleaned up their earlier dirty DIY sound, found a better drummer (this is Derek Grant's first full length LP), and were able to write good songs without dumbing things down for the pop charts (i.e. Stupid Kid). I wrote about their follow up to this album here, a while back. Everything I wrote about this band then still holds true, I think.

This is one of my favorite records from my favorite band from that weird pop punk/emo rock era. Alkaline Trio has a similar sound to Blink 182, Sum 41, Jimmy Eat World, and all those other almost surfer rock, almost hard rock, almost punk rock bands from the late 90's and early 00's (or whatever we call that decade). The difference for me was the song writing. Liz Phair once remarked about Elvis Costello that his songs about relationships were devastating to women. I like to think that Alkaline Trio's songs about relationships are devastating to love songs. Matt Skiba is far darker and more clever than his contemporaries. Evil makes for some good music, just ask Metallica and the Misfits.

Pitchfork writer, John Dark once wrote that:
"There's quite a bit that Alkaline Trio's music is not. It's not challenging, ambitious, or visionary. It's not clever or self-aware. It's not even terribly skillful. But what it is, is tasty. Pure musical junk food: fast, greasy, and crafted for a general palate."
I have never agreed with anything on Pitchfork until I read that bit of an underhanded compliment. I hesitate to call this band pop punk and bordeline emo, simply because the lyrics are so unique to the otherwise unremarkable genre, much like the Misfits own horror theme separates them from the rest of the American Hardcore scene. I admit to the guilty pleasure of listening to this band and liking them, but unlike New Found Glory fans, I can hold my head up high.

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