Alkaline Trio

This Addiction

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

This Addiction was promoted as a return to roots for the Alkaline Trio, no doubt as a ploy to bait old fans who have been waiting over ten years for the second coming of Goddamnit! With Matt Allison (the producer responsible for most of the band's earliest work) manning the boards and new label Epitaph footing the bill, things looked promising. The lead single and title track was a great start, and showed itself to be close to a return to form, with its blazing surge of guitars and slightly vintage feel (traces of "My Friend Peter" can be heard), and it seemed to reveal a band with something to prove. However, the deeper you get into This Addiction the more apparent it becomes that the model for their punk past must be From Here to Infirmary (not the heralded classic Goddamnit!), since the end result is still the same polished album full of vaguely gothic and bloody references where characters like Draculina live -- no real bitterness, sore-throat defiance, or endearing heartache to be found. Despite their efforts to convince listeners otherwise, Alkaline Trio just can't seem to recapture the spirit of their early days, when purpose and emotion fueled every note. Instead, one is left with totally competent -- and at times, yes, catchy -- songs that ring just a bit too hollow compared to the urgent leave-it-all-on-the-floor guts of those earliest releases. Once the listener gets past the initial bait and switch, This Addiction takes a few spins to sink in, but when it does, several tracks do stick out of the bunch, the title track and "Off the Map" being some of the strongest. Dan Andriano has a solid showing, but with only three songs compared to Matt Skiba's eight, it would have been nice to hear him more, especially since Skiba's lyrics leave much to be desired. So despite the polished and punchy singalong choruses, This Addiction is really just more of the same recycled melodies from the Trio rather than any sort of rebirth. Those who have been enjoying what the Alkaline Trio have been releasing for the better part of the 2000s will love This Addiction all the same, but everyone else who still clings to hope of the band reclaiming its former fury may finally just throw up their hands and move on.

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