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Alkaline Trio - Remains

  by Adrian Huggins

published: 26 / 1 / 2007

Alkaline Trio - Remains
Label: Vagrant
Format: CD


Excellent B sides and rarities collection from much acclaimed hardcore rockers the Alkaline Trio

Chicago punks the Alkaline Trio have delved into their odds, ends and bloopers reel and come up with this tasty slice of a B-side album. Filled with cuts that didn’t make it onto the albums, rare recordings and a few live and acoustic versions of songs, there is plenty for the loyal following the band have built over the years to sink their teeth into. Since their first record with revealed their brand of gloomy pop punk, the band, which is led by singer/guitarist Matt Skiba who writes the vast majority of the lyrics, have become heroes too many. As a result this album is highly anticipated by fans looking to get their fix of Mr Skiba’s superb song writing skills. As a collection of ‘left-overs’ it’s not hard to see why this band are loved so much around the world. In all fairness many of the songs that were taken off the final cuts could well be there, there are no bad songs on here. One problem I had with the collection, as an English fan, is that many of the ‘rarities’ are actually the ‘UK’ bonus tracks, so anyone who bought the albums in England will actually already have them. This accounts for around 5 of the songs, which would feel a bit of a rip off if the album didn’t weigh in at a packed 22 songs plus a bonus DVD which include some great live footage and back stage documentation. Some of the songs including, ‘Hell Yes’ from the band's breakthrough album ‘From Here to Infirmary’ (one of my personal favourites), which made it a little strange to hear it crop up on here. Also ‘My Standard Break from Life’ from the same album and ‘Old School Reasons’ from the following ‘Good Mourning’ are also superb, so it seems quite insane to think of these not making it onto the full albums. The live songs are definitely worth a listen as well. All fan favourites, they are recorded so well that they capture the Trio at their live best without loosing anything in production quality. The acoustic version of the aforementioned ‘My Standard Break from Life’ is also a wonderfully intimate version of the song which for anyone, who like myself, fell in love with the band at the turn of the century when they were just making some headway will love hearing an old favourite revisited in such an intimate way by bassist Dan Adriano, who takes over vocals for it from Skiba for it. Aside from the live cuts and ‘UK bonus tracks’ there are some fantastic songs that in some cases were recorded for various compilations including the politically edged ‘Warbrain’ which unsurprisingly, given its content, was featured on the ‘Rock Against Bush’ compilation. Songs such as ‘Hating Every Minute’, ‘Fine Without You’ and ‘Wait for the Black Out’ are all recognisable as Alkaline Trio songs, but in no way are they weak or of any lesser quality than the songs on the respective albums. They all have the mark of the up beat, fast paced punk rock set to the deep dark lyrics that the band have become loved for. As far as ‘B-side’ album goes this is good. Such albums are often hit or miss, sometime featuring priceless little tit bits for the fans which feature songs that become huge favourtes. Think of Oasis’ 'Masterplan' with such songs as 'Half the World Away' (that one from the Royle Family),'Acquiese' and the title track. There were some huge songs on there as there are on here, which really show how good a collection of music this band have. There are no bad songs on here, and certainly none that leave you saying “..Well I can see why that piece of crap didn’t get released” as many B-side albums manage to do, leaving you feeling like you just forked out 10 quid for a bunch of half finished poor quality songs which have you thinking the only reason this band released this was so they can spend another summer slacking off calling it “finding inspiration”. This is not that. This is a great collection of songs from a fantastic band and this body of work highlights why people still get so excited about this group.

Track Listing:-
1 Hell Yes
2 My Standard Break from Life
3 Dead End Road
4 Metro
5 Jaked on Green Beers
6 Queen Of Pain
7 While You're Waiting
8 Rooftops
9 Old School Reasons
10 Warbrain
11 Fine Without You
12 Hating Every Minute
13 Dead And Broken
14 Sadie
15 If You Had a Bad Time
16 Wait for the Blackout
17 We Can Never Break Up
18 Don't Say You Won't
19 Buried
20 Dethbed (Live)
21 My Standard Break from Life (Live)
22 I'm Dying Tomorrow

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