The Chicago-based punk rock trio known as Alkaline Trio have just released their highly-anticipated ninth studio album this week titled “My Shame Is True,” and although one of the songs sung by co-vocalist Dan Andriano repents “I’m Only Here To Disappoint,” this album does the opposite. Formed and led by frontman Matt Skiba, the band recently sat down with Rolling Stone and discussed how they laid it all out there for this album. It’s raw, filled with emotion, clever lyrics and creative instrumentals.  Skiba told SPIN that the writing of this record was also inspired by a recent breakup with his ex-girlfriend.  But instead of a dark, gruesome jab, the more mature Skiba’s kind vocals are meant as more of a love letter/apology.

The album’s first single titled “I Wanna Be A Warhol” was released by the band’s label Epitaph Records via YouTube as a lyric video consisting of hot pink font playing across black and white footage of bikers on the open road. With some studio work altering Skiba’s voice slightly, it catches you off guard at first, but then hooks you. An excellent music video was later released via mtvU starring the beautiful Mila Jovovich, which can be seen below. The band then released four other songs prior to the 12-track album dropping and all are great. “The Torture Doctor” premiered via Spin, and Skiba’s “Hey! Ho!” chants as part of the chorus may be a Bill Stevenson influence. Stevenson, who is the drummer for famed punk rock group The Descendents, worked with Trio in the studio for this album. Skiba has openly discussed his willingness to take suggestions from his colleagues and when in the studio. He is also currently recording a new EP with his side project known as The Hell via Dave Grohl’s Studio 606 where he will be sure to get some feedback. Then, Dan Andriano sings the track titled “I, Pessimist” which was finally released over studio footage via Rolling Stone with a big surprise: Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath is featured in the song. The pairing of McIlrath and Andriano’s voices just seems to work so well. Then Alternative Press streamed the songs “I’m Only Here To Dissapoint” and “The Temptation of Saint Anthony.” All of these songs were available on Spotify shortly after.

The album’s melodies seem very new and experimental, and Derek Grant’s drumming is both impeccable and beaming with talent. The opening track, titled “She Lied To The FBI,” is in the top three tracks of the album. This heavily Ramones-influenced song is simply brilliant punk rock and a crowd-pleaser for sure. The track “Only Love” incorporates piano and actually has the rhythm of Coldplay’s “Clocks” at first, but ends up as a beautiful ballad-like testament to love. “Only Love” along with “Young Lovers,” “Kiss You To Death,” and the last song on the album, “Until Death Do Us Part” serve as the band’s usual handful of songs per album that are dedicated to the tragedy, irony and beauty of love. The band has always been likely to focus on the topic but not always in such a charming way. “Kiss You To Death” starts off like a slow version of This Addiction’s “The American Scream.”  “Midnight Blue” and “One Last Dance” are just so perfectly written and Skiba’s talent for composition is likely to draw even more new Alkaline Trio fans.

If you were lucky enough to pick up the album’s deluxe edition, you would have been rewarded with four B-side tracks that didn’t make the album’s twelve tracks. These songs are arguably some of the best songs from this release and are definitely for the dedicated Alkaline Trio fans. “Pocket Knife” is in the top five songs for sure and “Balanced On A Shelf” is not far behind.

Overall, the album can be described as a mix between the band’s 2005 album “Crimson” and their last original studio work, “This Addiction.” The band seems to be moving in a forward direction and although less gritty than their original work, the punk rock is just as electrified and refreshing as ever. If you haven’t yet picked up the album, don’t miss out. The band heads out on a tour with Bayside in support of the new album this Spring with two dates in New York (Best Buy Theatre is already sold out). The success of “My Shame Is True” can only result in an exciting show where a bunch of these songs will be heard live for sure, as well as some old stuff as the band claimed.

Rating: 10/10

by Michael Haskoor