Alkaline Trio

Remains

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If there's something Alkaline Trio loves more than red, black and drinking their way through darkness and heartache, it's recording songs for compilations, B-sides and split albums. So it's only fitting that seven years after their self-titled singles collection, it would be necessary for the Trio to release another album to round various songs up into one tidy package for maximum consumption. In addition to multiple compilation appearances, their half to splits with Hot Water Music and One Man Army are here -- including the excellent cover of the former's "Rooftops" -- along with a few live cuts. Remains is absolutely essential for fans, not just for the completion factor for personal collections, but because most all of the songs here are up there with the band's best. Seriously, this is good stuff. "Hell Yes" leads things off with mischievous defiance; from cuts like "My Standard Break from Life," "Queen of Pain" and "We Can Never Break Up" to additional covers (The Damned's "Wait for the Blackout" and Berlin's "Metro") this record has no time for filler. Derek Grant is a machine behind the drum kit, ripping through the frenzied excellence of "Jaked on Green Beers" like it was nothing, and providing a hard backbone for the searing guitars of the exhilarating "Warbrain." Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano forever complement each other perfectly, whether it's trading off vocals on a track like "Old School Reasons" or commanding songs themselves. The album would have been enough, but the cherry on top is both a DVD and extensive liner note commentary on each song from all three members. The DVD includes five music videos ("Stupid Kid," "We've Had Enough," "Time to Waste," "Mercy Me" and "Burn") and random tour footage; the latter is admittedly little more than someone saying what city the band is in each day, but Skiba breaking up a skatepark fight is almost worth a watch in itself. Hardly a bunch of tossed away afterthoughts, Remains is an incredibly solid collection of songs that any fan would be foolish to miss.

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