The Shameful Truth
If Alkaline Trio was ever a punk band, it hasn’t been for a number of years. Their slide from a remotely heavy radio pop punk band to a through-and-through cheese-rock group has never been more obvious than in their newest release, My Shame is True. That being said, for what it is, My Shame is True is actually rather catchy and has a number of tracks that could almost make solid singles on the radio. Unfortunately, the songs are not much more than one-dimensional puff tracks to entertain 15-yea- olds and their parents and will eventually end up in a car commercial.
Singer Matt Skiba described My Shame is True as a love letter and an apology to an ex-girlfriend, and the songs deliver all of the cheesiness that that description would imply. Despite the lack of any heaviness or aggressive vocals that one would expect from a punk band, some songs like the opening track “She Lied to the FBI” do offer classic punk tropes like driving guitar and simple, repeated lyrics, but it ends up sounding manufactured and unauthentic. The single, “I Wanna Be A Warhol,” released before the album, does tend to get stuck in your head, but the ’80s synth-keyboards make it a bit hard to swallow. There are a few moments, like on the track “I, Pessimist,” where some harder vocals come through, giving the listener a fleeting reminder of the band’s past.
Even longtime fans of Alkaline Trio may find themselves having a hard time embracing My Shame is True, mostly due to its complete abandonment of any edge or aggression whatsoever. Fans of Matt Skiba’s more recent solo work, on the other hand, will find this album to be a better put-together version of Matt Skiba and the Sekrets. Not without its upbeat, catchy charm, this album probably won’t excite too many punks but expect to hear it on your radio at least once or twice.