Best Look Elsewhere
Matt Skiba, singer of the punk band Alkaline Trio, has released Haven’t You, an EP from his side project Matt Skiba and the Sekrets. This project seems to be Skiba’s attempt at broadening his fan base with some ‘easier to swallow’ indie pop rock, but it feels like he may have missed the mark. Trading Alkaline Trio’s even moderate heaviness for synths and overly emotional, layered vocals, Haven’t You sounds watered down, insincere, and overall forgettable.
The title track, “Haven’t You” attempts to cling to a little ‘rock and roll’ with loud bass and a loud chorus while embracing the softer side of Skiba that this EP tries to showcase, but the combination comes off feeling sloppy and disconnected. The second track, “Voices,” starts out sounding as bright as a commercial jingle and tries to keep the format of a punk song, without all of the aggressiveness and feeling that sort of simplicity would normally require. The other track on this EP is an entirely unnecessary acoustic version of “Haven’t You,” which hardly sounds different other than completely abandoning any semblance of rock and, thankfully, cutting out the synthesizers.
Fans of Alkaline Trio and Skiba’s other work may appreciate this EP for what it is, an attempt at something softer and more marketable, but listeners looking for something remotely punk or untraditional, would do best to look elsewhere.