For a journeyman punk-pop band like Alkaline Trio, who have been making melodic, angst-ridden, infectious rock since the late '90s, the band's 2013 album, My Shame Is True, is something of a revelation. Primarily, that revelation is that a band whose songcraft and musicianship might easily have plateaued by now is still bounding ever upward. To put it simply, this album is bonkers good. Produced with a searing, robust intensity by musician Bill Stevenson -- whose own band, the Descendents, laid the groundwork for just the kind of punk-pop music Alkaline Trio have built their career around -- My Shame Is True brings together all of the band's most commercial and personal inclinations to bear on some of the best songs of its career. While naming the album with a cheeky reference to Elvis Costello's classic 1977 debut, My Aim Is True, might seem like a bold move by a band clearly indebted to Costello's own superbly crafted punk-era guitar pop, My Shame Is True quickly dispenses with any irony, and reveals itself to be a great album on its own terms. Anchored by such infectious anthems as the satirical and romantic opening call to arms, "She Lied to the FBI," and the lust-ridden "I Wanna Be a Warhol," in which Matt Skiba's romantic and sexual obsession takes on iconic proportions, My Shame Is True is an unabashed rock masterstroke for the band. It's as if Alkaline Trio have packed over a decade's worth of experience, passion, and heartache into one disc, and in the process, figured out a way to balance the sprawling, open-wound emotionality of their early punk albums with their mid-career discovery of pristine songwriting craftsmanship. Sure, Alkaline Trio did not attempt to break the usual guitar-bass-drums-vocals mold of pop-punk. They simply deliver track after track of airtight, wide-eyed rock that digs its fingers into your soul for 40 minutes and does...not...let...go.
My Shame Is True Review
by Matt Collar