Alkaline Trio - From Here To Infirmary (Cover Artwork)

Alkaline Trio

From Here To Infirmary (2001)


I'm going to try my best to write a fair and accurate review for this new album by Alkaline Trio. Its just that I have been such a huge fan of these guys for the longest time, and I don't want to write a biased review, just a fair and accurate one.  

I have been a huge fan of the members of the band for a while now. I followed Dan Adriano through some of my favorite bands like Slapstick and Tuesday while I was a huge fan of Mike Felumlee and The Smoking Popes. I also enjoyed the short run band Jerkwater that featured Matt Skiba on drums.

When I first heard the song "97" from the Johanns Face compilation, "Mark's A Dick, Gars A Drunk" I was pretty amazed. Shortly after when Dan Adriano joined the band I was pretty excited. Releases afterwards like "For Your Lungs Only" and "I Lied My Face Off" (both released on Asian Man Records as c.d. EPs and 7"s) I was once again very happy with the songs and rockin' tunes I heard. However, the whole time I was really afraid that they would break up just because of the track record of all the members, because all their previous bands broke up after making some great music. However, this hasn't been the case.

Fast forward to 1998, and Alkaline Trio released "Godamnit" and literally took over the city of Chicago. I'll always remember when I first heard the album. I went out to the store to buy it a few days after it came out and I decided to just sit there in the parking lot to listen to it instead of driving home. It was a nice spring time day, the weather was beautiful and the sun shinned bright. When I heard it I literally just died. I asked myself "Is it possible for music to be this good?". To this day "Godamnit" is one of my favorite c.d.s of all time and I assure you thousands of people across the country feel the same way.

In December 1999 I saw the Chicago Winter Nationals which was the first ever show that Mike Felumlee played with Alkaline Trio. Weeks before, Glen Porter (ex drummer) was booted from the band and allot of people were complaining at the show about it. I just started at the people in amazement and asked "What the hell is wrong with these people?". I really felt sick to my stomach. These people just had no idea who Mike Felumlee was. Mike Felumlee was the drummer for one of the best bands of all time, The Smoking Popes. His stuff in that band was legendary and truly awesome. There was no one in the whole world that was a better replacement that him, and I have to pat Matt Skiba and Dan Adriano on the back, they made the best choice in recent music history.

In early 2000 Alkaline Trio released their second full length, "Maybe I'll Catch Fire" and again released another great collection of music. Much more darker than previous works and at times stretched and flirted with mellow type theatrics, the c.d. did very well as well and won them more and more fans every day.

Later on in the year Alkaline Trio (along with allot of together top names like Saves The Day, Hot Rod Circuit, and Dashboard Confessional) were signed to Vagrant Records. I was truly overjoyed. I thought that Alkaline Trio finally hit the big time and the singing was more deserving that any band that I can currently name now. Sure Asian Man Records was great and the band had such a great relationship with label, but there was only so much that the label could do because its a small label. Vagrant of course is a much bigger label and can do lots more publicity wise.

Alkaline Trio released two new songs "Crawl" and "Bloodied Up" on the Vagrant Records compilation and once again I was just amazed at the constant quality of the band. These songs were the first that featured Mike Felumlee on the skins and just showed the quality that the guy can produce. I think that those two new songs just about sent everyone in overdrive just about screaming to get the chance to get the new album which would be released on Vagrant.

So here we are folks, Alkaline Trio are about to journey into the next step in their career and release their third full length to date, "From Here To Infirmary". I know many people's mouth's are watering as they read this review. Let me just tell you that the hype behind this album is so justified its sickening. This is one amazing and incredible album, and once again just as when I heard "Godamnit" I feel myself once again questioning life and asking myself, "Is it possible for music to be this good?".

When Alkaline Trio gave "From Here To Infirmary" to Vagrant, the label was "speechless upon delivery", which according to the label "is one HELLUVA hard thing to do". That will further prove to you what an amazing album this is.

This album was once again produced by Matt Allison (who did amazing work for Jawbreaker). As in past works, most of the music deals with drinking, smoking weed, and heartaches from girls. Something I think every guy can relate to in this world. Once again as in "Maybe I'll Catch Fire" the music itself is brilliant, as it is very dark and disturbing. The guitar work, bass, and drums are all once again completely amazing. This is one of the most talented bands today.

The first song, "Private Eye" hit me like a freight train at first hearing and every other time I've heard it since. It starts out with this guitar riff that is amazing and very powerful which is repeated between the choruses and verses. This first track is surely one of the best songs on this amazing album. If you thought that Alkaline Trio had some fucked up lyrics before, you ain't seen anything yet! Check these lyrics out from "Private Eye": "New Year's Eve was as boring as heaven, I watched flies fuck on channel 11, there was no one to kiss, there was nothing to drink, expect some old rotten milk someone left in the sink, and theres no ring on the phone anymore, theres no reason to call anymore I passed out on the floor."

People may feel jipped with they see that the songs from the Vagrant compilation, "Crawl" and "Bloodied Up" are included on this new album. I have to assure you though its fine because both songs have been re-recorded for this album. At times they can sound pretty different from the Vagrant compilation version, but they're for the most part pretty similar. Listening to these songs again just reminds me how amazing these songs are. The biggest difference is at the end of "Crawl" the guitar riffs are replaced by a piano that you might miss on the first listen. After a second listen of so you can point it out easily.

Song three, "Take Lots With Alcohol" (great title) is one of the most catchiest songs on here. It features amazing drumming by Mike Felumlee and possibly is the best Dan Adriano sung song to date. I just can't get enough of this song, and I'm sure it will be yet one more anthem for many people.

"Another Innocent Girl" is another song sung by Dan Adriano. Right at the beginning of the song you can hear him talking. I'm not sure if its a mistake in the recording process that wasn't edited out, but I can't for the life of me figure out what hes saying and its definitely not in the lyrics.

Songs like "You're Dead" and "I'm Dying Tomorrow" (another two titles that set the dark mood of the album) at times play homage to sweet home Chicago. Lyrics include, "Cause if assholes can fly, this place would be busier than OHare" and "I'm dying tomorrow, this house, Chicago". 

"Armageddon" is another album highlight, and one of the best songs. The album is one of frustration and pain. Check out the lyrics: "I wrote the words in this song on the back of a photograph, behind your back it goes, a little something like this is way too big to miss, I got a letter in the mail, the sender failed to let me know where it came from, opened it up and sure enough there we were, arm in arm again, I'll drink this beer and write in fear of a song everybody hates, armageddon let the lights in, before we we say goodbye give us something to believe in".

"From Here To Infirmary" is one powerful album. All songs are forceful and never slow down all that much. Its the one thing I kept on thinking of while listening to this, the word "powerful". I always feel like I'm in some speeding car or train while listening to this new album.

The only complaint I have with this release at all isn't the music at all. Its with the design of the artwork. Me, personally I'm not a big fan of the cover or the c.d. booklet that contains the colors black on red with pictures of syringes and switchblades. Who cares though when music is this good? Without a doubt, one of the years best releases, and its really early in the year too!