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Outtakes and oddities fill out
Alkaline Trio's latest

Alkaline Trio - Remains
(Vagrant Records)
2 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Jan. 24, 2007
Alkaline Trio

Review by Tony Bonyata

On Chicago (by way of McHenry, IL) nu-punkers Alkaline Trio's seventh and latest full-length effort, Remains, the threesome haven't actually delivered a collection of new material, but instead compiled a multitude of songs and oddities that have been released throughout the years on various labels, compilations, EPs, B-sides and international releases since they formed a decade ago.

For the majority of these twenty-two tracks the energy's quite often at a fever-pitch - as one spastic rhythm collides with the next, and the no-nonsense guitars blast and blitzkrieg throughout, eschewing fluffy leads in favor of going straight for the throat. Sing-song, anthemic choruses, courtesy of lead vocalist and guitarist Matt Skiba, chime through most of the numbers, while the band's trademark dark lyrical overtones dominate a good majority of the songs featured.

While emo-injected pop songs such as "While You're Waiting," "Jaked On Green Beers" and the opening "Hell Yes," along with the Dookie-ditty "My Standard Break From Life" and the saccharine power-balladry of "If You Had A Bad Time" will do little to sway lovers of the first wave of punk (such as The Stooges, The Ramones, Sex Pistols, The Damned and The Heartbreakers, et al), skate punks and emo kids who mistakenly think that Green Day was punk rock's first Big Bang, however, will undoubtedly rejoice over these testosterone-driven numbers.

Still there are good number of high-energy rockers present that are filled with enough unbridled exuberance and youthfulness ("Hating Every Minute," "Fine Without You," "Queen of Pain," "Old School Reasons" and a spirited cover of '80s new wave band Berlin's "The Metro") to keep even an old punk-at-heart like myself bouncing on my heels.

If you're a fan of Green Day or Blink 182 then this collection of rambunctious musical misfits should appeal to you. Me? I'll sit this hodge-pogde of spirited, spastic and, ultimately, sophomoric remains out and wait for the new Stooges' reunion album this year, or pull out my beat copy of The Heartbreakers' L.A.M.F. for my punk fix.

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