Alkaline Trio – My Name Is True
by Dan Czech
After two failed “back-to-basics” attempts to placate old school fans, Alkaline Trio decide to stop living in the past with their latest effort, My Shame is True. This album seems more like the logical follow-up to 2008’s Agony & Irony than 2010’s This Addiction ever was. With My Shame is True, Alkaline Trio continues to further expand their sound, with prominent keyboards featured in many songs, which are seemingly carried over from lead singer and guitarist Matt Skiba’s side project, Matt Skiba and the Sekrets.
The album gets off to a good start with a pair of fun, catchy tunes; “She Lied to the FBI,” and the lead single, “I Wanna Be a Warhol,” respectively. From here, the album is a bit of a mixed bag. Fans of bassist and vocalist Dan Andriano’s solo album, Hurricane Season, will love his contributions, “I’m Only Here to Disappoint” and “I, Pessimist” which sound like they could be outtakes from that album, albeit much louder. “I, Pessimist” features guest vocals from Rise Against vocalist Tim McIlrath and is probably the best song on the album.
Some of Skiba’s contributions, however, just seem like rehashes of previous Alkaline Trio songs. None is as blatant as “Kiss You To Death,” which is eerily similar to “The American Scream” from This Addiction. Unfortunately for the band and us, the listeners, neither of those songs are very good. “The Torture Doctor,” while catchy, seems like Skiba ran out of lyrics and just substituted them with “heys” and “hos.”
The album does go out on a high note, though, as “Until Death Do Us Part” is probably the band’s best closing track since Maybe I’ll Catch Fire’s “Radio.”
All in all, this album won’t please everyone. Fans of the band’s early work will find very little on this album that is reminiscent of either Goddamnit or Maybe I’ll Catch Fire, but that doesn’t mean this is a bad album. Unfortunately, nostalgia is a dangerous thing. Alkaline Trio will never be able to recreate the magic of those first couple of albums, so they’re doing the only thing they can and not trying to be the band that they were 15 years ago anymore. Every song on My Shame is True isn’t a winner, but it’s nice to see a band moving forward rather than backward.