Alkaline Trio, "This Addiction"

75 Billboard Rating

In recent years, some fans have criticized Alkaline Trio for straying too far from its punk roots. But on its seventh studio album, "This Addiction," frontman Matt Skiba follows through on a promise he made in interviews that the band would return to its DIY songwriting approach. The song "Off the Map" is a no-fuss rock cut, complete with throbbing bassline and drug metaphors for domestic dysfunction ("I'm like a junkie for your smart mouth"). Listeners who still aren't convinced should turn to the raw-sounding and lyrically bitter "Piss and Vinegar," which could easily fit on the band's 2001 effort, "From Here to Infirmary." But the addition of synthesizers ("Eating Me Alive") and trumpet blares ("Lead Poisoning") seem out of place both on the album and in the group's repertoire. Luckily, the good outweighs the bad (which isn't all that terrible). Fans will be pleased to find Alkaline Trio remembering what it's like to be itself.--Lindsey Fortier

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