Ignore the anodyne song-titles like Versions Of You, Bad Time and Scars. Sonically, we’re right back into the gravel of early-2000s classic From Here To Infirmary and Good Mourning. Guitars slice, grate and gouge like murder weapons. Matt and Dan Andriano’s vocals are loaded with more wry, world-weary bittersweetness than they have been in years.
Rather than the twisted heartbreak, serial killers and murder-cults of old, these songs double-down on the everyday horror of growing old in a world going to shit. With its stabbing six-strings and tolling bells, talk of werewolves, Frankenstein and screaming maniacs, mid-album highlight Break has the aesthetic of a vintage Alkaline Trio track, but it’s rooted in the broader Apocalypse Times we’re living through – and all the more savage for it. Shake With Me deals in the terror of long love falling apart. Broken Down In A Time Machine veers into brilliantly offbeat melodrama, reckoning on the dangers of getting tied up in trying to capture past glories long gone.
Daring to drop curtain with Teenage Heart, though – a song loaded with mischievous nostalgia and real longing, dark humour and faint hope – there’s no doubt that Alkaline Trio still have plenty of good years ahead of them. Older, wiser and bearing the weight of legacy, these mightn’t be the angry young ghouls we used to know, but they’ve kept hold of their old duffel-bag of sharp implements, and they still know how to use them.
For fans of: blink-182, Hot Water Music, Creeper
Blood, Hair, And Eyeballs is out now via Rise