Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Heart & Skull/Epitaph

Pleasantly surprised. That's how I'd describe my reaction to Alkaline Trio's reworked collection of fan favourites. Mostly, it's an acoustic, sweeter-than-usual take on the band's dark-stained pop punk sound. But don't expect a couple of acoustic guitars, a cowboy hat and a tambourine. Skiba, Andriano and Grant have gone all out.

As well as the hits, Damnesia also includes new songs "Old English 800" (Skiba) and "I Remember a Rooftop" (Andriano), as well as strangely-chosen Violent Femmes cover "I Held Her In My Arms". Personally, my favourite is the piano and synth ballad version of "The American Scream". Now that's a "re-imagining"!

"Every Thug Needs A Lady" and "Blue In the Face" lose nothing in translation. "Radio" sounds great as well. "Mercy Me" sounds unchanged, except for the acoustic guitars. "We've Had Enough" churns, thanks to a distorted double bass. And like I say, the Femmes cover is a strange choice - it just sounds way too jolly, bluegrass and out of place.

Really, Damnesia's an indulgent fan favour to celebrate 15 years of Alkaline Trio. Nothing more, nothing less. Can't wait to see them in November...

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