An Album Review by Alexander ‘Stigz’ Castiglione
The 2013 release My Shame Is True by Chicago triad Alkaline Trio has nothing to be ashamed of. Delivering a taste of days past; steeped in bitter emotion and new-age angst, this release gives die-hard Alkaline fans the flavor of the kick ass albums of yesteryear.
Frankly this album is broken up into only two categories tracks I like, and track I love. Bringing back the upbeat yet aggressive pseudo-punk sound that I fell in love with many moons ago, this EP opens up with a foot-tapping, head bopping track, “She Lied to the FBI.” From that point on in, I rarely found myself eyeballing the skip track button, and really started to get into the album when I heard “Kiss You to Death,” a song reminiscent of some of my favorite classics – “This Could Be Love” and “Private Eye” : Vaguely romantic and slightly disturbing lyrically, driving and warming melodically.
From there I got to a collaboration I really was looking forward to on “I, Pessimist” – a collabo with counter-culture-centric, post-punk front man Tim McIlrath of Rise Against. However, I do wish it was longer than two minutes and change, as their call-and-answer vocal tactics and aggressive riffs I hoped would’ve ran out for longer. From there is has some pretty solid tracks, closing with one of the best of the album, in my opinion – “Pocket Knife.” This jam echoes the sound of albums past, namely Maybe I’ll Catch Fire with hints of Crimson.
All in all, their best release in years – which isn’t saying much if you gave a listen to Agony & Irony – not their best release by any stretch – and Damnesia – which only had a couple originals and was comprised mostly of re-cuts of old hits; making it a not-quite greatest hits album. Regardless, if you grew up on staples like Goddamit and Maybe I’ll Catch Fire – I’d say go scoop up this release ASAP. Is it the same vibe as earlier work? Somewhat, but all acts mature, some in ways we like, and some we don’t. One noteworthy “evolution” if you will, is bringing God into their lyrics. Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night, I say, but this writer hopes we don’t go off the Jesus freak deep end and release an album like Brand New’s The God and The Devil are Raging Inside of Me.
That being said, the album is taking steps back into the right direction – that is the road which hooked thousands of fans like me with their simplistic song structure, introspective and damaged lyrics, and unpolished yet oh-so-catchy hooks. Check it out, nonetheless.