May 24, 2005 - Vagrant
For all the talk of maturation surrounding Alkaline Trio’s fifth proper album, Crimson, the disc essentially mimics the goth-punk group’s past few efforts: There are some absolutely killer songs you’ll desperately want to see played live (“Time To Waste,” “The Poison”); some filler songs (take your pick between tracks 6-10); and a single that’s so poppy, you’re almost embarrassed to like it (“Mercy Me”). Overall, the band seem to be running long on ambition and short on ideas. Yes, there are significant amounts of piano and electronics packed into these songs, with varying amounts of success (“Burn” soars; “Prevent This Tragedy” flops); but they’re all still obviously Alkaline Trio songs: You’d never mistake any track on here for another band (save for “Mercy Me,” a blatant ripoff of Hot Water Music’s “Rooftops”-a song the Trio have previously covered). By embracing elaborate production alongside rather standard song structures for the third album in a row, Alkaline Trio have settled into their groove as a rock band (“Sadie”) who occasionally play punk songs (“Back To Hell”). Yeah, Crimson’s good—but it could’ve been great.