Alkaline Trio- Agony & Irony
Record Label- Epic
Release Date: July 1, 2008
Think back to your last mental breakdown. How about the last time you've spent a lonely night drunk and depressed? Like a good friend, Alkaline Trio have always been there for you.
Not to say the band hasn't had its own thick and thins. After injuries, a label fallout, and Crimson, it's safe to say Alkaline Trio are poised for a comeback. Multiple listens in, the only people the band seem to be intent on proving are themselves. Old school fans will see little correlation between Agony & Irony and the album using the Lord's name in vain, the obvious being the fact that the harmonic duo of Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano still carry the tunes into the bleak, yet tongue-in-cheek void of catchiness. Not to rule out Derek Grant; in fact, his fills seem to blend in so perfectly, you forget he's even there. While certainly layered and glossy, Agony & Irony is a step below Crimson in the over-produced department.
Without a doubt, the biggest draw of the record (and in every other CD Alkaline Trio has recorded) is the anthemic plethora of choruses shining in every single song. Even the duds ("In Vein," "Lost and Rendered") have their moments of bliss. A piano flourish here and there aid the obvious first single (and well chosen) "Help Me." "Ruin It" may be Alkaline Trio's most diverse song to date with a creepy intro all the way up until the chorus, pulled together with dark guitar accents and Andriano's seductively leery voice.
Careful to not cloud their lyrics with metaphors and symbolism, the words that bounce around Agony & Irony are as straightforward and simplified as ever. Each song tends to its own concerns, the song titles being direct references to the bad news being spewed from the lips of the tag team of vocalists. Yes, the main themes again residing in the bible of self-deprecating glory and unabashed apathy, including verses of blood, guts, and graves.
Alkaline Trio have made a career of shedding light on shitty situations. With Agony & Irony, they continue to grind their work into sharp knives poised to stab even the happiest schmuck whistling on cloud nine. Like the rest of their deep discography, this irresistible plunge into the heart the listener receives hurts so good.
terrible review, the 78% is spot on, but the actual review is bad, "Lost and Rendered" and "In Vein" are probably 2 of the best songs on the CD....while "Ruin It" and "Love Love, Kiss Kiss" are as saturated as a Trio song can get
i would rate the album around 80% and, for me, crimson is around 85%. my problem is with the actual review, 'Live Young, Die Fast' is probably the weakest on the album. You didn't mention this, but I can also see why a lot of people don't like 'Love Love Kiss Kiss'. However, for some reason I really enjoy the song despite the fact it doesn't quite fit the Trio song-mold.