Alkaline Trio - From Here to Infirmary
This is one hell of an EP. Too bad it's a full length. The
Alkaline Trio continues its descent into mediocrity and it
seems that no one can stop them. It's a damn shame, really.
This band used to be spectacular. "Goddamnit" is an amazing
album and it's still in my personal heavy-rotation to this day.
I own "For Your Lungs Only" and "I Lied My Face Off" on both
vinyl and CD because I love it that much [and because, one day,
when I need money, eBay will probably see both]. "Maybe I'll
Catch Fire" was a departure for the band, providing me with their
first song that I really disliked ["Sleepyhead"] and providing
the band with a much wider audience. Isn't that the way it always
is for bands? It always seems like a band's best material comes
out before anyone knows who they are. On "From Here To Infirmary"
it's obvious that the Trio has realized their new situation --
they're now on Vagrant Records [which is quickly turning into one
of the most dominant indie labels out there], they're touring with
bigger and bigger names [Now it's Blink 182], and they're generally
becoming more available to mainstream popularity. This album
definitely shows that this knowledge has been received by the band,
at least somewhat.
The album kicks off with "Private Eye." This song immediately starts
to fall into the "stereotypical" Alk3 song, with the chord changes in
the same ol' places and obscenities being thrown in just for the hell
of it, so it seems. "Mister Chainsaw" is next, and tries to sound
like "Clavicle" but falls flat on it's face. Dan steps up to the mic
for "Take With Lots Of Alcohol," which is probably the worst song I've
ever heard him sing. This is no "Message from Kathlene" or "She Took
Him To The Lake." Moving on, "Stupid Kid" gives the album a temporary
shot in the arm, being the first good song on the CD. This might be
due to the fact that the song is only 2:23, whereas the first three
songs were all over 3 minutes. Maybe the Trio figured out to cut some
of the filler out? Maybe not. "Another Innocent Girl," again sung by
Dan, clocks in at 3:37, but they're able to pull it off, somewhat. The
song is very reminiscent of "You've Got So Far To Go," but in a good way.
"Steamer Trunk" is by far the most unmemorable Alk3 song I have ever heard.
Boring as all get out. So far the album has only has one song I'd like to
listen to again. Taking a look at the second half of the album, it tends
to get much much better.
"You're Dead" is a nice slow number that is this album's "San Francisco."
It's a very good song, to be blunt. "Armageddon" follows it up as a great
fast punk number. The song is even better live. "I'm Dying Tomorrow" is
the best song Dan sings on this album, and is one of the best he has ever
sung. There is definite emotion in his voice here. I'm getting chills from
this one. Next is "Bloodied Up," one of two songs the Trio gave to the
"Another Year On The Streets" comp, and it sounds great. The fast tempo
change seems to come out of nowhere, and I love it. "Trucks And Trains" has
a "Sleepyhead" vibe to it, but it just sounds better overall. "Crawl,"
Alkaline Trio's other contribution to the "Another Year On The Streets" comp,
ends the album with not so much of a bang but not a whimper, either. Dan's
voice soothes you for four and a half minutes, and to be honest, this could
be a Smoking Popes song. It's a great album closer, and it makes me want to
play the album again -- until I realize the first 6 songs are pretty boring.
The Alkaline Trio is shooting for the stars with this album, and I think a
lot of former die-hards will abandon them on their journey. I'm just glad I
didn't get that tattoo of the skull in the heart on my arm now...
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