Following up from 2018’s ‘Is This Thing Cursed?’, Chicago’s Alkaline Trio have released ‘E.P.’, and, whilst the release may be simply titled, the tracks that it holds are far from it, seeing the group push their sound further afield.
Opening with the staccato ‘Minds Like Mindfields’, the trio deliver their potent blend of dry wit and sing-along choruses. Utilising the combined vocals of Dan Adriano and Matt Skiba to create an intriguing and varied verse, it leaves no room for dead space. Whilst the track showcases many hallmarks of the group’s sound, from tinkling piano notes, clustered drum fills and a few woahs for good measure, it also manages to sprinkle noise rock influences to breathe a fresh element into it.
Following on with the pounding ‘Radio Violence’, drummer Derek Grant works in tandem with Adriano to craft a rhythmically intriguing verse that deviates form the expected. Packed with tight drum fills and a deceptively simple hook, the track benefits from the nuances that are littered throughout, from Skiba‘s note phrasing to the dynamically shifting first verse.
Rounding off the release, ‘Smokestack’ moves away from the distortion and sits comfortably with Adriano‘s vocals and an acoustic guitar taking charge. Filled with a compelling lyrical delivery and a breakneck pace, the track harks back to some of the band’s earlier releases, but imbues the streamlined structure that comes from years of experience.
Whilst Alkaline Trio could’ve released a collection of tracks that stick to their formula, ‘E.P.’ sees them spreading out and adding exterior influences. With a new energy added to their foundation and a streamlined structure, Alkaline Trio offer us all a glimpse into their next chapter.