Critic's Choice

Although a small army of bands -- Blink 182, Sum 41 and SR-71 among them -- have done their best to stomp out whatever dignity's left in pop punk, the poppy three-chord rock of the Alkaline Trio is graceful enough to excuse some of the style's more embarrassing moments. While this means leaving chorus lines of dancing midgets and scatological humor up to other bands, the Trio gets by without sophomoric showmanship: Its songs feature equal measures of pop hooks and hard-driving punk power that make gimmicks unnecessary. The band's latest, From Here to Infirmary, briefly scraped the pop charts, but its fare is only vaguely similar to the hordes of radio-friendly mall-punk outfits. Whether the band pummels its melodies with grisly Face to Face-style guitars or hints at Midwestern emo's heartbroken themes in its lyrics, the Alkaline Trio unapologetically slicks up elements that have driven indie fans crazy for years. Returning to the clubs after an April stint supporting Blink 182 in large-capacity venues, the band performs at Boulder's Tulagi on Thursday, June 7, with Dashboard Confessional, Hot Rod Circuit and No Motiv. Alkaline is one of the rare bands that can catch the ears of both mainstream and dyed-in-the-wool punks.


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