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Alkaline Trio – Agony & Irony

June 23, 2008 by  
Filed under CD Reviews

atcoverAlkaline Trio
Agony & Irony
Epic Records

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Reviewed by:  Justin

Alkaline Trio is back with their sixth studio album titled Agony & Irony, set to drop on July 1st. People will see this album further evolve the Chicago trio into a well-established pop punk band. That’s what this album sounds like – they’re not a “punk” band anymore and it’s not your classic Trio, and that’s OK.

That was one of the concerns that I’ve heard from fans of the band – that they would change their style being on a major label. This is not the case and this album is another step in the evolution of the Trio trio. Their sound has matured throughout the years and they’ve been able to keep it fresh from album to album as more and more people are getting into them (and they should).

This is one of the bittersweet things about a band as they evolve. They gain more listeners this way, but it may drive away old listeners as well. Talking to fans of the band, I’ve heard both sides of it, although the listeners that get pissed off by the band becoming more popular are in the minority. It’s an argument that’s never made much sense to me. Just as you’ve changed from 10 years ago and don’t wear the same clothes you used to wear, your favorite bands are going to inevitably evolve as well. If you’re a fan of the BAND, you go along for the ride and enjoy the band’s evolution. If you’re a fan of one SONG or ALBUM of the band, you’ll probably stay in the past and cry about their evolution. Anyway… /rant

Agony & Irony is filled with fantastic songs that will really grow on you. “Calling All Skeletons” is a great start to the album and gets your attention right away. Next you have “Help Me” and “In Vein”, which fans have already been able to hear on the EP or on the band’s Myspace page. I really dig these songs, and “Help Me” is one of those catchy songs that grows on you, but in my opinion, these aren’t even the best songs on the album!

Track #4 “Over And Out” is my favorite song after the first few spins of A&I. With strong vocal emphasis on this song, and about death and loss, this track is lyrically excellent with a chorus that will go over well in a live setting. Lines like “Over and out he sighed / It seems I’ve run out of time / Please tell my wife I loved her more than life itself” show that the band’s trademark lyrical style hasn’t changed.

Another highlight is “Lost & Rendered”, especially the chorus, which will undoubtedly be an excellent live song as well. It starts out heavy and the guitars are stronger on this track than others. Along with “Over And Out”, I’m really digging this song and have been playing it repeatedly for the last 16 minutes or so, which at 3:23 in length means I’ve played this song about… oh well, math wasn’t my strong suit anyway.

Overall, I think fans will be impressed by the consistency of this album. This is one of the few albums that I’ve been able to listen to all the way through. While I had a couple of favorite songs mentioned above, when you listen to the album, none of them really stand out and grab you. It’s a very consistent album from start to finish. You know how it is with some bands. The first 2 or 3 songs on the album are the “hits” and the rest of the album sounds like it was just included to fill up the CD. That’s another one of those good/bad things about an album. In this case for Alkaline Trio, it was a good thing… you won’t find much filler on Agony & Irony.

This is an album that will go over great in a live setting, so check out the tour dates below. So log off the int3rw3bz, postpone playing World of Warcraft for a few hours, and go out and catch a good rock show! Otherwise pick up Agony & Irony when it hits a store near you… unless you’re one of those people who never leave your apartment. In that case, hop on iTunes and download it.

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