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Chicago's Alkaline Trio Return Strong With Ninth Album

By Katie Karpowicz in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 3, 2013 2:40PM

2013_03_alkalinetrioalbum.jpg It's interesting that Alkaline Trio's ninth album, My Shame Is True, is being lauded as a "highly personal" album for singer/guitarist Matt Skiba. It's akin to stating that Amanda Bynes did something "weird" the other day. Everything she does is weird. Though he now has a divorce and another recent breakup under his belt, Matt Skiba has been a highly personal songwriter since Alk3's beginnings back in '97. Have you heard "Clavicle"?

After suffering a mid-career identity crisis with the over-produced, underwhelming Crimson and the easily forgettable Agony & Irony, My Shame Is True proves that the Trio has found their niche again. Their 2010 return-to-form release This Addiction was not a fluke and Skiba has once again found solidity in instrumentation to balance his uber-personal, doom and gloom lyrical style.

Personally, it feels good to be excited about this band's career again. And, while Skiba seems to be finding comfort in familiarity on this new album, it's bassist and co-vocalist Dan Andriano that's truly pushing the punk rock barriers. He successfully manages to shift from matured and croon-y ("One Love") to quick and angsty ("I'm Only Here To Disappoint") throughout without compromising the album's identity—one that's been previously illustrated by the a series of '80s-horror-flick-themed lyric videos.

Despite the fact that the majority of Alkaline Trio's members have moved out of Chicago since their formation, they'll always be "ours." It seems as though they haven't forgotten where they came from either as they're not the only Chicagoans on this album. Rise Against's Tim McIlrath plays dual vocal duty to Andriano on "I, Pessimist" and The Lawrence Arms' Brendan Kelly pitches in on the chorus of "I Wanna Be A Warhol."

It's hard for any band to make it to their ninth studio album. It's even harder to make it to that point with a second wind-ish sense of rejuvenation and freshness. As the members of Alkaline Trio say hello to their late 30s and near their 20th year together as a band, it will still take some time before they manage to wear out fans' welcome.