Alkaline Trio - Maybe I'll Catch Fire
Asian Man Records
In the year since I first saw the Alkaline Trio, not only have they doubled
in popularity and toured the nation, but they've also found the time to
record an EP and LP worth of new material.
Last summer's four-song EP, I Lied My Face Off, hinted at the things the
Trio had up their sleeves. The four songs on I Lied My Face Off were longer
and more downbeat than the songs on Alkaline Trio's 1998 debut album,
Goddamnit. The songs on Alkaline Trio's new album, Maybe I'll Catch Fire,
reflect that departure.
Fans of the Trio -- don't worry: The songs are still full of that
hurt-too-many-times-by-a-relationship-gone-sour feel that made these boys
famous. The lyrical content follows much in the same path as Goddamnit's,
but the music on the album gives it a more depressing feel.
Maybe I'll Catch Fire opens with "Keep 'Em Coming," a song with a rhythm
very close to Goddamnit's opener, "Cringe." Interestingly, the
lack-of-sleep feel that "Cringe" imbued the listener ("Burned out on two
hours of shut-eye / Eyes glazed at the thought of the next eight hours") is
carried over to "Keep 'Em Coming" as the band sings of having a head that
is heavier than lead while having toothpicks in their eyes.
"Madam Me" is a dark rock song that picks up where "I Lied My Face Off"
ended. As the song ends with the words, "I will keep you warm in Hell," one
is forced to wonder if Matt Skiba is looking forward to that day or
As any Alkaline Trio listener knows, two things they love to write songs
about are alcohol and romance. These two topics that go great together are
combined on "You've Got So Far to Go," as Dan Andriano sings about how they
"talked so much we filled this ashtray twice / and [he's] pretty sure we
emptied every bottle in the place."
On "Sleepyhead," Alkaline Trio tries two new things. It's about the
farthest thing from a punk song they've written yet. I can imagine most of
the kids skipping past this track, because of the awkward opening guitar
riff that carries the song. The lyrics for this song also go a bit past the
relationships & alcohol theme presented by previous Trio songs -- they deal
with heroin addiction.
Andriano's vocals make another appearance on the album's title track,
which seems to deal with depression and the inability to cope with it. When
he painfully sings, "Maybe I'll fall hard / Something tough to break me /
Something sharp to rip into my insides and rip out all this pain," you
can't help but hope things start going better for him.
On another of Andriano's songs, "She Took Him to the Lake," he tells the
story of a young boy who fell into a summer romance, only to have the girl
not return his calls in the fall. This is the first time I've really notice
Andriano's lyrics telling a story, and I hope he continues to write in this
style and gets better at it, because I enjoy the feelings his lyrics and
voice are able to paint in this song.
The album closes with Skiba's "Radio," a slow song detailing another
romance gone bad. How bad? Have you ever wished your ex-lover would just
accidentally drop an appliance into the bathtub with them? Then you'll
relate to Skiba's lyrics.
I don't like Maybe I'll Catch Fire as much as Goddamnit -- everything just
seems a little stilted as a whole. MICF is not a bad record, though, just
not as good as the Trio's debut.
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