Underrated pop-punk slips under the radar

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The main frontmen Matt Skiba and Dan Adriano taking care of the press.

Travis Knewstep

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Alkaline Trio’s release of their newest album titled “Crimson” marks a more mature and ambitious sounding punk rock, which is continuously developing in the band. It was the third album, and in my opinion the best cd released by Alkaline Trio with Vagrant Records. Although it not a new release, “Crimson” has been overlooked by the media and extremely under rated.

From the ominous piano and atmospherics in the intro of the first song “Time to Waste” to the increasingly progressive tempos of the second song “Poison” Crimson is truly a creative, intelligent, and meaningful record. It is one of those albums that might help adolescents through difficult and turbulent times.

Alkaline Trio harnesses an intuitive balance of darkness and bright melody to replicate the up-and-down feelings of life, especially the life of a young person. The arrangement of the movements (a movement being a verse, bridge, chorus, etc.) of their songs adds to the personality of the album. In the third song “Burn” the music starts off kind of dark and gloomy. Then, around the middle of the song, the sound breaks out of dark clouds into a marvelous array of bright rays of passion exhibited through harmony. It really makes you feel like you can overcome any thing in the world.

Although somewhat pessimistic, the lyrics on this outstanding album are everything from meaningful to intriguing to just plain catchy.

In the song titled “Sadie,” Matt Skiba sings tales of the real life member of the Manson family Sadie Mae Glutz, who was deeply involved with Charlie Manson and numerous murders.

In song number 10 of the album, Dan Andriano sings about the West Memphis Three, who were implausibly convicted with the satanic ritual murdering of three boys. They are widely believed to be innocent but have not yet secured a new trial.

The lyrical styles and ranges of Skiba and Andriano blend together very well. A good example of this is “Mercy Me” where both musicians harmonize with different pitches. In song number six, “Settle for Satin,” Skiba explains a pessimistic yet creative and intelligent view of our modern societies’ social ways.

“That there is a comfort in a world where darkness is the only thing we see and cold is all we have to breathe. Where affectations keep us company, where the lies we tell to the eyes that roll in doubt are somehow out of our control.”

Alkaline Trio has been together since 1997. However, they did not acquire much fame until the 2001 release by Vagrant Records of “From Here to the Infirmary.”

This album put the Trio into the top 200, and filled up venues across the world. The bands unique sound solidified in 2003 when Derek Grant joined the band. Their unique sound is created through great singing, dark lyrics, and great harmony. The rest of the Trio is made up of Skiba on guitar and vocals, Andriano on bass and vocals, and Grant on drums and back up vocals. The band’s producer Jerry Finn has worked with successful bands such as Green Day, Blink-182, and Jawbreaker.

I still do not understand why the new record “Crimson” did not propel the band into mainstream. Other comparable bands such as Panic at the Disco, The Used, and My Chemical Romance did make it into the mainstream. This is ridiculous, because these bands are less talented, less mature versions of Alkaline Trio. These bands just do not have the brilliant harmony that is Alkaline Trio.

“Crimson” came out on Sept. 24 2005. To find out more about the band and listen to some of their songs, check out www.alkalinetrio.com or at www.myspace.com.

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