Review: Alkaline Trio – This Addiction (2010)

Seven has been associated with This Addiction, whether covering the CD itself to the earplugs the band uses during their tour. The integer itself denotes either dread or luck, depending on your viewpoint. The seventh album is as polarizing as the number; you’ll either love it or hate it. In fact, it has been one of the more challenging releases since the ball started rolling on the pop side of their music with From Here To Infirmary.

Alkaline Trio has always been centered around the two core members, Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano. Matt tends to focus on the sinister side as Dan is comfortable dealing with love and lighthearted loss. Despite this duality and unlike prior releases, Andriano dominates on This Addiction not in number but the memorable nature of his songs. “Dine, Dine My Darling” is a macabre, pop punk jubilant jaunt that, ignoring the imposing mortality of the lyrics, finely carries the debut past the opening first track and single. The brightness of Andriano’s tracks returns in the strummed chords of “Fine”, the album’s closer that is neither acoustic nor a crooner for Skiba. It may be, if you removed the bells and flourishes, the closest to Tuesday we’ve gotten.

The complementing corner of the trio, Skiba, introduces the album with “This Addiction” and sustains it in the latter end of album seven. The two latter tracks, with the out of place yet common organ flares, are his highlights. “Piss and Vinegar” establishes itself as the standout, giving pauses to guitar riffs the way Andriano’s vocals give listeners something to hold on to and relish. Subdued during verses, raised to the rafters in the choruses, the song tosses This Addiction a much needed variety.

Longtime absent, Matt Allison and his Atlas Studios were the draw for longtime loyal fans to be interested. You can hear his touches in how he handles Andriano’s vocals and the guitars, which sound clearer than prior producers. Unfortunately he doesn’t return the Trio to their earlier form, in which their original excitement is still attained on stage. This album drifts and slides, needing a little more salt and sand stirring up the songs. However, the deluxe version featuring two Andriano songs and acoustic renditions of four others, provides this. Pick this edition up instead of the standard if you will.

Alkaline Trio
Official | iTunes

Rating: 5.8/10

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