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Album Review
Alkaline Trio - My Shame Is True Album Cover

Alkaline Trio - My Shame Is True

Reviewed by
7.0
Alkaline TrioMy Shame Is True
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Record Label: Epitaph/Heart & Skull
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
For some reason, Alkaline Trio falls into this weird “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” area with their legion of fans. Whenever the band experiments with its sound (Crimson, Agony & Irony), fans complain that it doesn’t sound like the band’s previous material. So when the Trio writes an album that’s a throwback of sorts (its last full-length This Addiction), fans whine about it not being as good as From Here To The Infirmary or Goddammit. The band can’t win. Fortunately, this hasn’t ever deterred the band from writing what they deem to be the best Alkaline Trio songs. On its second proper Epitaph full-length, the band headed to the Blasting Room to work with legendary producer Bill Stevenson for (surprisingly) the first time in its career. The result is My Shame Is True, the Trio’s tightest collection of songs since 2003’s Good Mourning.

Working with Stevenson created a loose and efficient recording environment, with vocalist/guitarist Matt Skiba getting the chance to jam with one of his heroes. So, it shouldn’t be too surprising that My Shame Is True features some of Skiba’s best Trio work in a while. He’s written some of his catchiest songs yet; from the driving “I Wanna Be A Warhol” (its tinge of synth setting it over the top) to emphatic fist-pumper “The Torture Doctor” (whose chorus will undoubtedly evoke Good Mourning comparisons).

My Shame Is True also contains some of Skiba’s most vulnerable lyrics, as the album is a love letter/apology of sorts to his ex-girlfriend (that’s her on the cover). The remorseful “Kiss You To Death” features a charging melody that’s reminiscent of This Addiction; the melodic “One Last Dance” has Skiba asking for atonement (“There just ain’t words to say how sorry I am, for acting like a school boy trapped in a man, there’s nothing I won’t do for one last chance, may I have this dance?”). While a lot of his songs contain a lot of metaphor, it's nothing but up-front honesty as he lays it all out on closer “Until Death Do Us Part” – an emotional gut-punch reminiscent of fan-favorite “Radio.” It's not all apologies however, as the morbid "The Temptation Of St. Anthony" chugs along to Derek Grant's superb drumming, culminating as one of the album's strongest cuts.

While My Shame Is True is mainly a Skiba-dominated affair, vocalist/bassist Dan Andriano continues to serve up some of the most solid songs of his career. The gothic “I’m Only Here To Disappoint” features a ripper of a chorus, while the blistering “I, Pessimist” is two minutes of pure punk rock euphoria. Andriano and Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath trade vocal barbs back and forth on one of the most fun Alkaline Trio songs in recent memory. And just like his band mate, Andriano is not afraid to bare his soul. “Only Love” is a bitter ballad with a Coldplay-esque piano rhythm (“I hear that the telephone works both ways/Think you can make a little effort some day?” and “Separate these lies like there's a truth/I don't know who the hell told you./You've probably been lying since you murdered my youth.”), while "Young Lovers" is a lightweight rocker about living in the moment. If you find yourself craving more Andriano-led songs, make sure you check out the Broken Wing EP the band released along with this, as it features three of his strongest tracks yet.

The Chicago punk rockers eighth full-length have one eye on the past while looking forward into the future. The Ramones-inspired opener "She Lied To The FBI," gets the album off to an exhilarating start, along with the aforementioned "Kiss You To Death" and "Until Death Do Us Part" are sure to bring back memories of past efforts, but My Shame Is True also has the band sounding refreshed and inspired with cuts like "I, Pessimist" and "The Temptation of St. Anthony." After all the heartbreak, alcohol, and personal strife, it finally sounds like Alkaline Trio is having fun recording music again. A lot of that can be chalked up to the band working with Bill Stevenson, who's production had a big hand in making these songs sound as good as they do. Despite being fifteen years in the punk rock scene, My Shame Is True is a showcase of a band continuing to be vibrant and vital, when lesser bands have become stale and irrelevant.

7/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 77
06:19 AM on 04/02/13
#2
Jaytothesyg
The Greatest Generation
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Good review, I agree completely

Love this album definitely my favorite since Goodmourning.
06:19 AM on 04/02/13
#3
paulramon93
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Phew, I was expecting another 'Young New England'.
06:19 AM on 04/02/13
#4
georgedcc
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The lyrics on this are the most honest and heartfelt Skiba has been for years. Probably his most open set of lyrics since Goddammit. A huge step up from This Addiction and the more I listen to it, the more I love it.

Dan is great as always.
06:25 AM on 04/02/13
#5
HogarthHughes
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Great review, Drew. This album is my favorite since Good Mourning, and I was actually a big fan of Crimson and This Addiction. It sounds like Maybe I'll Catch Fire, Good Mourning, and Crimson thrown into a blender, and I love it.
06:34 AM on 04/02/13
#6
a speedo model
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Completely agreed. Great album. Feels good to enjoy a whole Alkaline Trio album again.
06:36 AM on 04/02/13
#7
kidwithhelmet
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Once more, the handful of Dan songs are my favorite off the record. Only Love, in particular.
06:45 AM on 04/02/13
#8
jordalsh
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Awesome review, I want to check this out
06:53 AM on 04/02/13
#9
GNARgnarGnar
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*Cliche trio fanboy post disclaimer*
The reason why I feel like most people reference their older material as their crowning achievement (good mourning, FHTTI) is in my opinion because Dan and Matt split up the songs more evenly. I loved This Addiction, but I really felt like the few songs Dan had were the best ones. (Dine Dine my Darling, Off the Map, Fine, Those Lungs) I wonder why their writing process is so Skiba heavy. Keep in mind, I LOVE Skiba, however it definitely seems to be unbalanced. I wonder how many of Danny's songs don't make the cut, or if he even minds... Can't wait to pick this up and have my mind blown.
06:54 AM on 04/02/13
Holly HoX!
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Man, actually excited to check this out. Nowadays I tend to gravitate towards Dan's songs. Glad he has some good cuts on this record.
06:55 AM on 04/02/13
Holly HoX!
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*Cliche trio fanboy post disclaimer*
The reason why I feel like most people reference their older material as their crowning achievement (good mourning, FHTTI) is in my opinion because Dan and Matt split up the songs more evenly. I loved This Addiction, but I really felt like the few songs Dan had were the best ones. (Dine Dine my Darling, Off the Map, Fine, Those Lungs) I wonder why their writing process is so Skiba heavy. Keep in mind, I LOVE Skiba, however it definitely seems to be unbalanced. I wonder how many of Danny's songs don't make the cut, or if he even minds... Can't wait to pick this up and have my mind blown.

Dan's songs on FHTI are my favorite Trio songs for what it's worth.
06:56 AM on 04/02/13
GNARgnarGnar
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Man, actually excited to check this out. Nowadays I tend to gravitate towards Dan's songs. Glad he has some good cuts on this record.
Exactly. When I first started listening to this band, I favored Skiba, almost exclusively. Now a days I tend to lean towards Danny, even through their back catalogue. Getting old, weird things happen.
06:57 AM on 04/02/13
GNARgnarGnar
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Dan's songs on FHTI are my favorite Trio songs for what it's worth.
Take lots with Alcohol, end of story.
06:57 AM on 04/02/13
Drew Beringer
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Man, actually excited to check this out. Nowadays I tend to gravitate towards Dan's songs. Glad he has some good cuts on this record.
make sure you also check out the Broken Wing EP, he has amazing songs on that as well
06:58 AM on 04/02/13
Holly HoX!
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Take lots with Alcohol, end of story.

Exactly. And "Another Innocent Girl"

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