The Alkaline Trio | Good Mourning | Vagrant Records
The Alkaline Trio and I go way back. I mean, I can’t even recall all the countless drunken nights we’ve spent together singing at the top of our lungs, reciting morbid lyrics like sacred poetry, and passing out as Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano sang me contently to sleep. Though we weren’t physically together, their albums and I have been good friends for years. With the Alkaline Trio’s most recent album Good Mourning, I’m able to begin this cycle of vicious Trio obsession all over again.
Despite falling in the trendy pop-punk category, Alkaline Trio members Skiba (vocals/guitar), Andriano (vocals/bass), and Derek Grant (drums), may bask in the fact that they’ve continually scared away more conservative listeners with their dark lyrical imagery, all while drawing a cult following. Good Mourning stays true to traditional Trio themes of death, sinister thoughts, breakups and even a little (somewhat distorted) perception of love.
The album’s first three songs delve into a poppier sound, most notably the opener, “This Could be Love” where Skiba cheerfully lists off four steps to follow to reach one’s own demise. More traditional, heavier Trio sounds prevail in the remainder of the album, as in “All On Black,” where Skiba asks, “What’s upside down? / What’s coated in sliver? / This crucifix is my four-leaf clover.”
The album is a clean balance of Skiba’s darkness with the more jovial, upbeat songs sung by Andriano. In “Every Thug Needs a Lady” he rattles off a heart-piercing love ballad to his new wife. The album closes with a touching solo acoustic “Blue in the Face” where Skiba leaves the listener with one, oh-so-Alkaline final question, “Your coffin or mine?”
In a time when bands are ready overhaul their sound depending on who’s making Spin’s next cover, the Trio stick with what they know and Good Mourning serves up what one would expect from a band that’s out to have a rawkus good time. There ain’t no shame in penning catchy little ditties to be sung with a raspy voice, fueled by a healthy dose of beer and cigarettes in true Trio style.
[Kami Shallenberger has a date with the Trio and a fifth of Bacardi at 3 a.m. so don’t come a-knockin’.]