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Sound Check

CD Reviews

4/3/2013

CD Alkaline TrioAlkaline Trio

‘My Shame is True’

Epitaph

As a punk band, Alkaline Trio has always left me flat. They’ve never moved me the way that Green Day was capable of, but they’ve also never driven me to fits of bile and rage like, say, Blink-182. And so, “My Shame is True” continues Alkaline Trio’s proud tradition of just kind of being there. The album’s presence certainly isn’t offensive. Opening tracks “She Lied to the FBI” and “I Wanna Be a Warhol” are perfectly acceptable examples of late-vintage pop punk. But the album never takes that extra step to become something memorable. At its best, it regresses harmlessly into the same punk tropes that have been carrying the Trio for the past 15 years (“The Temptation of St. Anthony” and its staccato drum work). At its lowest (“Only Love” and the Coldplay rip-off piano hook) the album just plain overreaches. CV

 

HIV

CD Cold War KidsCold War Kids

‘Dear Miss Lonelyhearts’

Downtown Records

So here’s the thing: “Dear Miss Lonelyhearts” is good, but it’s also highly derivative. If you’re already a Cold War Kids fan, you’re going to love the album because it’s everything that’s made the past couple of albums good, only amplified. If you’re new to the party, however, you might find yourself wondering what all the fuss is about. At first blush — in this case opening track “Miracle Mile” — it sounds like everything you’ve heard before. Take the Killers’ stadium-anthem sound, thrown in some faux Jeff Buckley introspection, coat it in some of Arcade Fire’s semi-gloss DIY sheen, and there you go. But the fact that there’s nothing particularly innovative about it doesn’t keep the album from being a listenable piece of entertainment. The Kids are talented performers, even without anything particularly new to say. “Dear Miss Lonelyhearts” won’t push anyone to new creative insights, but it’ll pass the time well enough. CV

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