Heavens Patent Pending

It sounds like Matt Skiba — guitarist for spooky pseudo-punks the Alkaline Trio — really wanted to put out a record that sounded like the Sisters of Mercy. He ended up with a collection of songs that sound more like a collection of Alkaline Trio b-sides played through the world’s finest MIDI console. Meaning, if you’re a fan of Skiba’s penchant for spooky-cum-cheesy lyrics and catchy melodies, Patent Pending is actually an interesting proposition. All the songs here follow the path of recent Alkaline Trio material, with the key difference being the significantly slower pace and addition of numerous electronic elements. Generally, however, the songs display all the catchiness of Skiba’s full-time outfit, even if they aren’t as strong as his oldest work. The cheese factor is pretty high here, with the cornball aspects of Skiba’s songwriting and lyricism on full display, but fans of the Alkaline Trio will probably find it worth listening to, though it is unlikely they’ll find much after a few spins. (Epitaph)