Listen Up: Wednesday, June 5, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Alkaline Trio

Good Mourning (Vagrant Records)

By Ken Shimamoto

It’s kinda disconcerting for me to hear punk-rock as well recorded as it is on this c.d., Good Mourning, by Alkaline Trio. Then again, it’s been a long time since that racket was really the rebel music it started out as. Indeed, with the success of Blink-182 and all those groups that sing about “high school,” punk’s become downright mainstream — the life-soundtrack for the Hot Topic set. To the current crop of teens, “old school” punk means ... Green Day.

While it’d be easy to lump current Alternative Press coverboys Alkaline Trio in with that mob, it wouldn’t be totally accurate. What differentiates these guys from the rest of the current pop-punk pack is a darkly humorous sensibility that’s reflected in songs like “This Could Be Love” (“You took me hostage and you made your demands / I couldn’t meet ’em so you cut off my fingers / One by one”), “Fatally Yours,” “Donner Party (All Night),” or the world-weary acoustic “Blue in the Face.”

Their songs are chock-full of memorable hooks and choruses. Indeed, “Every Thug Needs a Lady” sounds like a thumpier version of something Elvis Costello might have penned in his late-’70s heyday; it’s that tortuously melodic. Maybe it has something to do with Matt Skiba’s raw-throated croon — the sound of a guy who doesn’t sleep much and smokes too many cigarettes. No matter; power pop hasn’t been this well done since ’90s Scandinavians like the Yum Yums and Aussies like Dom Mariani threw down the gauntlet to the slacking masses of Yank and Brit bands.

Not sure the current teen-age masses are jaded and cynical enough to hear these guys out, but if they are, Good Mourning could be the Sound of Summer 2003.

Sat at the Ridglea Theater, 6025 Camp Bowie Blvd, FW. 817-738-9500.


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