Don't let the black outfits and stenciled skulls fool you; Alkaline Trio doesn't exude a fraction of the ghoulish atmosphere of similarly-adorned goth-punks such as the Misfits and AFI. Angst, though, it's got in spades. Since 1997, the Chicago threesome has plumbed the sticky, half-scabbed depths of bloodshed and heartbreak, tying around them a tourniquet of classic pop melody and morbidly clever lyrics that concede very little -- either sonically or sentimentally -- to new-school mall-punk. The prolific group's new album, an eponymous split release with Oakland's One Man Army, showcases tracks like "Dead and Broken" and "Sadie," in which singer/guitarist Matt Skiba whips up some macabre imagery that has both Addams and Manson in its family tree. Even bassist Dan Andriano, whose songs are usually the low point of the band's records, contributes "Hating Every Minute" and "If You Had a Bad Time," two catchy, crooning odes to tears, screams, breakups, beds of nails and hell. Owing as much to vintage punk rock like Buzzcocks and the Damned as it does to Jawbreaker, Alkaline Trio jabs a healthy injection of grit, gloom and love-weary wisdom into this year's Warped Tour lineup.
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