Alkaline Trio – This Addiction

Heart and Skull/Epitaph

From the not-so-shocking department comes Chicago-based Alkaline Trio with a new handful of upbeat yet melancholy pop-punk tunes. Even less surprising? As with its last couple of full-lengths things start off strong but quickly taper off. This Addiction’s lead track is wonderfully dark and catchy yet successive tunes eventually prove to be more punk-rock sodium bicarbonate: The longer they saturate the more they dissolve into something unpleasant that we don’t necessarily want to stomach.

The album struggles to unite the band’s messy past of cool indie punk and more recent Gothic-inspired pop in an effort to reconcile frustrated old-school fans with confused newbies. Again though while this is admirable — and slightly better than just sticking with the recent schlock or abandoning it to regain lost cool points — it generates one sentiment: compromise. It’s a nice way of saying “Nobody is gonna completely hate it but nobody’s gonna end up entirely happy.” If this album were another one of singer-guitarist Matt Skiba’s suicide fantasies it would be via getting run over by a car… smack dab in the middle of the road.