Alkaline Trio Good Mourning

It's probably an unfair sweeping generalisation to make, but generally speaking, the drummer is the most expendable member of a band (unless he's Neil Peart). Rarely does the changing of the rear guard result in as dramatic a change in sound as losing a vocalist or guitarist — and given the frequency with which punk bands especially seem to change drummers, that's probably a good thing. But on their fourth disc, Chicago's goth-flavoured pogo-core practitioners Alkaline Trio have seized the opportunity of a new drummer to rediscover something that seemed to be missing from their previous From Here To Infirmary album. "I really felt that that was a progression in many ways, but I think that they had lost something," acknowledges Derek Grant, the new guy behind the drum kit. "It was maybe too well-refined and too formulated." Grant set out to, and succeeded in, bringing back the edginess of the band's first two records by taking songwriters Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano on a little trip down memory lane. "When I joined I wanted to find a nice balance between [From Here...] and the previous albums." he recalls. "Where Matt and Danny seemed to be really interested in further progression, I wanted to take a couple steps back and learn some of the old songs they hadn't played in years and get a good understanding of where the band came from and move forward from there. Hopefully we've succeed in making an album that's somewhere in between ...Infirmary and the previous albums but still a progression in songwriting and maturity." And indeed they have. Good Mourning is a strangely cohesive albeit contradictory collection of Skiba's dark, sinister love songs for Satanists and Andriano's up-tempo pop-punk ditties. (Vagrant)