Alkaline Trio Agony & Irony

Since their debut Goddamnit hit the stores back in 1998, Chicago’s gloom rockers Alkaline Trio have grown and evolved, to the delight and dismay of many. Although their newest release oozes death, alcoholism, love and fire, some of Alkaline’s recurring themes, there are many changes in the overall sound. Moving away from the more traditional acoustic rock of albums like Maybe I’ll Catch Fire, the band opted for a more upbeat, dance rock, power pop sound on Agony. This is not to say that the band are moving in the "wrong” direction, but maybe this move pushes Alkaline Trio toward a loss of popularity amongst their older, more die-hard fans. First single "Help Me” hit the airwaves in late April. It was a good choice, as it blends the old and new styles. A constant dance beat on the drums, mixed with a softer piano melody, simple power chords and doom-y lyrics encompass what Alkaline Trio have become. Although many of the songs are mediocre at best, Matt Skiba’s unmistakably raw-but-soothing vocals completely save the record. (Epic)