Split EP (Jade Tree)
by Tim Den
I can’t believe how infatuated I’ve become with this split EP. Sure, I’ve loved Hot Water Music for years now, but it’s Alkaline Trio‘s contributions here that have hooked me like a trout. With two originals and a cover of HWM’s “Rooftops,” Alkaline Trio somehow turn simple (almost predictable) power chords and jaded ex-boyfriend sentiments into contagious doses of punk beauty. Not even their last full-length packed as much conviction as these two (three if you count the cover, which sounds surprisingly comfortable) quick bursts. “Queen of Pain,” with its melancholy guitar hook and wide-open chorus; “While You Were Sleeping,” with its boiling-under verses and eruptive ending… wow. Subtly pessimistic and cynical, yet filled to the brim with glorious pop melodies, Alkaline Trio have finally perfected their formula.
But don’t think Hot Water Music didn’t put up a fight. Two originals and two ‘Trio covers later, they’re still an adrenaline machine roaring out of Leatherface’s tradition of gritty, intelligent rock. “God Deciding” especially proves that last year’s A Flight and a Crash was no fluke: These guys are still getting better, year after year. Basically, you need this.
(2310 Kenwynn Rd. Wilmington, DE 19810)