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Crimson by Alkaline Trio

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Reviewed on 8th June 2005.



By Alkaline Trio

It's been a fair old trek for Chicago's darkpunk entrepreneurs Alkaline Trio since their incarnation in '96. A steady stream of arguably ever improving releases has set the scene for Crimson to be the defining album in Alk3's repertoire. Green Day accomplished huge mainstream success last year with 'American Idiot' after following a similar route to the band in question and the stage could be set for the same this year. Unfortunately 'Crimson' stammers, starts, gets up some speed... then stalls. Oh dear.

Don't feel too bad though as Crimson is a strong record, just not the triumphant collection of songs it could easily have been on the evidence of Alk3's back catalogue and their combined vast talent.

The age old atmospheric tactic of the beautiful haunting piano stammers into rigid guitar stalleto blasts of lead single 'Time to Waste'. As with what's to follow it runs the age old Alkaline Trio format into the ground in fine style. Despite blatantly ripping off Rival Schools 'Used For Glue' riff. Track 2 'The Poison' - a short sharp unrelenting taste of more abrasive punk debuts co-vocalist Daniel Andrianos role on the record. I've always regarded him as the weaker of the two vocalists, primary vocalist and lyricalist Matt Skiba always seeming to have the x-factor and more charismatic voice but on 'Crimson', to Andrianos credit, he appears to utilise his voice to a greater degree and the gulf in class is less obvious.

Skiba is still obviously the glue that holds the Alk3 product together and it's his superb voice and lyrics that pierce the record with a number of downright great songs. Cream of the crop being 'Burn', 'Sadie' and 'Prevent This Tragedy'.

The saddest aspect is though, that nothing on here holds a candle to cuts off other albums. Where are the 'Private Eye's and 'Stupid Kid's from 'From Here To Infirmary'? Or where are the 'This Could Be Love's or 'Fine Without You's from more recent history? We know full well Alkaline Trio have the capacity to write as well as this but unfortunately the glorious, unmissable, classic songs are absent from 'Crimson'. As a whole it too would be hard to say, at least initially, the album as a whole is superior to older Alk3 material. Not necessarily a regression from 'Good Mourning' but more of a standstill. Skiba's lyrics are always going to be dark, it's Alkaline Trio's main draw for Gods sake! But it could be interpreted he has mellowed slightly in recent years. Rarely dealing directly with death but rather calling directory enquiries to get its number. Less blatant but it's still definitely the defining and inmitigating dividing factor that divides Alk3's punk from their contempories. As such, and rightfully so, they'll always be in a league of their own in more ways than one.

To set the record straight then, there isn't a song on here that could be contrived as 'weak' and Alkaline Trio fanatics will be more than content with what's on offer but 'Crimson' is more a case of what if's and what could have been. There's still time for the band to pull the vampire out of the coffin and deliver an impeccable killer album to cement themselves in modern punk history and I wholeheartedly believe they'll pull it off.



All replies to this article. Log in to post a reply.

On 8th June 2005 at 23:40 Anonymous 2345 wrote...

good review. its a great album but only as great as the last two. and like it says, the knockout punch hasn't been delivered on this one


On 9th June 2005 at 07:58 Anonymous 4117 wrote...

That didn't read like a 4/5 review to me?


On 9th June 2005 at 12:20 Anonymous 3566 wrote...

I'm a big Alk3 fan so it will always be good and worth 4/5 to me but i felt the lack of the 'knockout punch' needed to be emphasised in the review. Just to clear up for any new fans this is a good album but not as good as earlier releases.



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