Alkaline Trio’s prominence in the modern wave punk scene is unblemished. They’re an act that have cemented their status as a true institution, travelling with their instruments through the blustery state of change. Change happens a lot in the music industry. With the technological advances now in operation, the art of selling records is dying. But, Alkaline Trio are a band that never thought of record sales as a motivational tool. Their style, grace and passion is their lifeline.
By pushing their hearts forward, 3 men created a band in 1996, by gnashing their teeth and creating songs that were 3 chord wonders, they grew and became local heroes in the Chicago music scene. The debut record Goddamnit was a small success, creeping up like an unrelenting monster. It was dark and raw and it showed that the band had sustainable ability.
Maybe I’ll Catch Fire came next. It was a record that showed maturity. Leading man Matt Skiba wrote these songs that were instrumental to the acts movement and credibility. The album contained tracks like Fuck You Aurora, which showcased emotion and Skiba’s haunting but melodic voice.
After the release of Maybe I’ll Catch Fire. There was a line-up change. Drummer Glen Porter was replaced by Mike Felumlee and that paved way for Alkaline Trio’s most celebrated record From Here To Infirmary. That record pulled people in like a rope; it was extremely haunting but beautiful. It contained songs that resonated with the fans too. Songs like the simply written but evocative Stupid Kid became a commercial success. Album opener Private Eye also reeled the fans in. It was a song that conveyed Skiba’s hard hitting and dark wordplay.
Good Mourning was released next in 2003. It was a different album, more conceptual and polished. It had some of the most revealing lyrics that have ever come from a battered head. Skiba was in a dark place, and by trying to control his razor-sharp feelings, he spurted out songs like Blue In The Face and This Could Be Love. These songs were truly remarkable, musically and emotionally.
It only took the band two years to release their 5th album which was called Crimson. There was some indifferent reviews received, but it was a record that had some magical offerings including Sadie and Mercy Me. these songs pushed the record above the beyond. Crimson didn’t do as well as prior records. But it has become a fan favourite. With its key notes and empowering guitar sequences, it pushed the band to the limit.
2008 brought us Agony And Irony, a record that placed the band into mainstream territory. Critics never warmed to the album, slating it as being too commercial. But it had its moments. Songs like Help Me and the sentimental Over And Out saved the opus.
But Alkaline Trio have always been passionate about producing music that conveys a story. 2010’s This Addiction was a musical pile-driver and it had a fable attached to it, blossoming and flourishing like a blood soaked butterfly. From American Scream to Draculina, the album was engineered to create a blissful atmosphere with a good helping of self-loathing.
The band had taken 3 years off before building their new record My Shame Is True. It was perceived as being Alkaline Trio’s weak link. It was Matt Skiba’s reason to rant about the hell of breaking up and his songs reflected that. Bassist and vocalist Dan Andriano was applauded for his lyrical prowess over Skiba’s simplistic and rage coated words.
It’s now 2015 and Alkaline Trio have been around for nearly 20 years. Their music has opened imaginations and has resonated with so many. There have been bumps along the way but that has made their bond stronger. They’re a true Chicago success story.