I haven’t gotten involved with an album by Yankee Punks The Alkaline Trio since 2005’s Crimson, which I wasn’t overly keen on, save for the excellent track Time to Waste; They’ve released three full-lengthers since then, but apart from a change or two in Labels not a lot else has changed at Camp Alkaline.
So, you still get an album full of world-weary observation, the heaviness of the lyrics always leavened by the sheer melodic heft this band wields at all times. Often, in sweetly paradoxical fashion, the heavier the lyric the more singalong the refrain that accompanies it. There’s so much melody it all melds into one after a while, although excellent tracks like Goodbye Fire Island, the spirited Feed Me to the Lions and Worn So Thin do stand out from the pack.
Krystalline, which closes the album, is another highlight, but all of the thirteen songs on offer have something to recommend them, even if it’s only a well-placed ‘whoa-oh’ or two. And although it’s true that familiarity can breed contempt at times, the fact that you often know what’s coming on ITTC? actually only adds to its overall sense of lovability.
Pop Punk – surely the most juvenile of all musical sub genres – was never designed to grow up. However, albums like this proves that it can, not only gracefully, but with a few nice tunes thrown in for good measure. A surprise success.
Is This Thing Cursed? is out now on Epitaph Records on CD and digitally, with a vinyl release to come next month.