Sometimes Rock groups engage in a game of "how deep is the hole you're in?" The light is above but everyone is either digging down or sideways. Unless there is a reasonably good chance of reaching China or at least Jersey, it's a futile effort. From a distance the holes may look the same but upon closer inspection there are differences. "Our hole is deeper." "Ours' is darker." The Alkaline Trio has their hole. It's a bleak and despairing place but still with hopes that things might get better.
Like countless other bands, Alkaline Trio built there reputation with a combination of indie releases ("Goddamnit" in '98 and "Maybe I'll Catch Fire" in '99) and touring. Signed by Vagrant Records, the group released their highly touted "From Here To Infirmary" which contained the single "Stupid Kid." That success lead to the Warped Tour, Pleas for Peace Tour, the Vagrant Tour and opening for Blink 182.
Felumlee split and was replaced by Derek Grant as the group began work on "Good Mourning." As the title suggests, death appears as a theme throughout but not without occasional stabs at humor like "Donner Party (All Night)" and "Every Thug Needs A Lady." There's a little light shining into their hole.
"Remains," issued in '07, was culled from a decade's worth of b-sides, rare tracks, material from split EPs and even a live track.
Early '08 turned out to be a busy time for Alkaline Trio. First came the announcement that they had returned to the studio to work on an album slated for release later in the year. Then Asian Man Records issued a 10th anniversary edition of the band's '98 set "Goddamnit." Some festival shows, an appearance on MTV's The Hills and a contest where fans submitted footage based on the lyrics to "Love, Love Kiss, Kiss" kept the calendar full. "Agony And Irony," with the single "Help Me," landed in the summer of '08.
The album peaked at #13 on the Billboard album chart. But just a few months later the band announced they'd left Epic and would release their next set, "This Addiction" on their own label, Heart & Skull, a joint venture with Epitaph Records. The title track was indicative of the album's direction.
"The song takes heroin addiction as a metaphor for love," said Skiba. "The whole record is really personal, all three of us have been through quite a bit since our last album and it is all expressed through this, all the songs are about the relationships we've been in and so the record has a constant theme.
"This Addiction" dropped in early '10 and peaked at #11 on the Billboard chart - the band's best showing to date.
2000 Maybe I'll Catch Fire
2001 From Here To Infirmary
2003 Good Mourning
2008 Agony & Irony
2010 This Addiction
2013 My Shame Is True
There is nothing better than unadorned Punk. But too many bands try to "dress up" or dilute their core Punk sound. Not Alkaline Trio. They are an aggressive band that whipsaws through chords and emotional debris. They sing of hard times and depressing situations with rare authority.