Overall Score: 8/10 songs: 8/10 lyrics: 8/10 replay value: 7/10 Pros: A focused vital return to form Cons: There are a couple of moments where the album dips toward the end
5 years is a long time, but for Alkaline Trio fans it must have seemed like an eternity. This is the longest the band has gone between albums and I’m sure many fans were starting to wonder if they were ever going to get a new album, but here we are, the Alkaline Trio is back and they have a new album in the form of ‘Is This Thing Cursed?, the follow up to 2013’s ‘My Shame is True’ the main question is whether it would be worth the wait? the answer to that is a resounding yes.
The title track effortlessly eases the listener back into the dark and cynical world of Alkaline Trio. It clips along at a pretty breezy pace and has a vibrancy and urgency that has long been lacking from the bands music. Little Help? is full of biting lyrics about lost love and self medication, its peak Matt Skiba filtered through a bitter filter that sounds like the drunk uncle of The Gaslight Anthem doing wedding karoake while propping up the bar and hitting on a bridesmaid (try getting that image out of your heard)
There are moments on here like Blackbird, Demon and Division, and Sweet Vampires where it sounds like they are picking up the themes they explored on Crimson and have carried them through here. There is an old school goth and roll vibe that runs through the veins of this album, like a storm cloud on a sunny day. Blackbird especially has a wonderful energy to it that springs to life and will have your toe tapping and head nodding in no time. Sweet Vampires is a summer anthem that sounds like it was ripped straight from a Warped Tour compilation cd and I mean that in the best way possible, it just ignites pure nostalgia.
Goodbye Fire Island and Stay up both the tempo and the melodrama, bringing with them some of the album’ best lyrical and vocal moments as well as keeping the sound drenched in a sense of mournful melancholy that drips from the speakers.
There are some moments on here that feel like pure unfiltered Alkaline Trio, that take the listener back to the sound they fell in love with on all of those classic genre defining albums. Alkaline Trio have always been a special band, and a life changing one in many respects and in growing up and changing alongside their audience there have been moments when they may have lost their way or tried expression through other means, but it seems like once again there is a fire burning bright inside of them and Is This Thing Cursed? is the most vital and urgent they have sounded in years, proving that even after all of these years there is still some life let in them, and they arent done yet.
If like many you found yourself straying away from Alkaline Trio over the years, then this will be the album that drags you back in, in a big bad way. Don’t let this album pass you by