Alkaline Trio – Good Mourning
Vagrant Records (2003)
By Paul Hermann
Being a long-time “cult band” can start getting dangerous when the records start to pile up a little. After putting out four solid albums, a few EPs and a B-sides collection that left them somewhere between the commercial success of Blink 182 and the alt-rock credibility of Supergrass, these Chicago rockers are definitely on the borderline.
Alkaline Trio’s formula is simple: catchy vocals, clever lyrics and driving pop punk. Sounds simple, right? It is. But somehow no one seems to be capable of emulating this great band.
Being stuck with a cult following, do fans want them to change? Of course not. I’ve been a big Alkaline Trio fan for years, thoroughly enjoying God Dammit and From Here to Infirmary to the point of using the songs contained therein to lead informal therapy sessions with my friends. Yep, things seem to be good in the hood when you’re listening to infectious punk rock with great friends.
So what should Alkaline Trio do? Should they step out of their somewhat predicable sound? If Good Mourning is any indication, the answer is “absolutely not.” Their sound works, somehow managing to breathe new life into an otherwise stagnant pop/punk genre.
Busting with power chords full of distortion and catchy pop hooks that are the Alkaline Trio staple are standout tracks like “All On Black,” which demonstrates that lead singer Matt Skiba can sing lines like “this crucifix, my four leaf clover” and have them mean more and grab you tighter than his contemporaries.
Admittedly, recycling the same formula over and over isn’t always a good thing, but gosh darnit if Good Mourning doesn’t have enough great tracks to keep them right in that happy place I’d just assume they’d stay – not too popular and not too “indie.” Just like the song says, Alkaline Trio, “I’m fatally yours.” – (6.5/10)