Matt Skiba & Kevin Seconds Matt Skiba & Kevin Seconds

What a great idea this split CD is: two singer/songwriters who front well-established punk bands busting out and presenting their own musical projects. This project features five tracks each from Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba and 7 Seconds namesake Kevin Seconds. Both present stripped down acoustic guitar-based solo works that allow the true power of the songwriting to shine through. Whereas most of the subtleties of their songs tend to get lost in the incendiary punk fury of their respective bands, the songs presented here are allowed to breath and take on their own lives. That's not to say they don't rock, they just aren't as suited to the mosh pit as other things we're used to hearing from these guys. We also get to experience the breadth of their musical abilities as they play all their own instruments. The Skiba tracks are especially interesting because it's really the first time he's presented his music in this format. And just as a nod to his partner, he even offers up a gorgeous treatment of the powerful Seconds-penned ballad "Soul to Keep," which first appeared on 7 Seconds' 1989 Soulforce Revolution disc. The Seconds songs are stronger than some of his recent solo work, or that of his Go National side project, so it's nice to hear him returning to form. (Asian Man)