Alkaline Trio - From Here To Infirmary (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Alkaline Trio

From Here To Infirmary (2001)


This is one hell of an EP. Too bad it's a full length. The Alkaline Trio continues it's descent into mediocrity and it seems no one can stop them. It's a damn shame, really. This band used to be spectacular. "Goddamnit" is an amazing album and it's still in my personal heavy-rotation to this day. I own "For Your Lungs Only" and "I Lied My Face Off" on both vinyl and CD because I love it that much [and because, one day, when I need money, eBay will probably see both]. "Maybe I'll Catch Fire" was a departure for the band, providing me with their first song that I really disliked ["Sleepyhead"] and providing them with a much wider audience. Isn't that the way it always is for bands? It always seems like a band's best material comes out before anyone knows who they are. On "From Here To Infirmary" it's obvious that the Trio has realized their new situation -- they're now on Vagrant Records [which is quickly turning into one of the most dominant indie labels out there], they're touring with bigger and bigger names [Now it's Blink 182], and they're generally becoming more available to mainstream popularity. This album definitely shows that this knowledge has been received by the band, at least somewhat.

The album kicks off with "Private Eye." This song immediately starts to fall into the "stereotypical" Alk3 song, with the chord changes in the same ol' places and obscenities being thrown in just for the hell of it, so it seems. "Mister Chainsaw" is next, and tries to sound like "Clavicle" but falls flat on it's face. Dan steps up to the mic for "Take With Lots Of Alcohol," and is probably the worst song I've ever heard him sing. This is no "Message from Kathlene" or "She Took Him To The Lake." Moving on, "Stupid Kid" gives the album a temporary shot in the arm, being the first good song on the CD. This might be due to the fact that the song is only 2:23, whereas the first three songs were all over 3 minutes. Maybe the Trio figured out to cut some of the filler out? Maybe not. "Another Innocent Girl," again sung by Dan, clocks in at 3:37, but they're able to pull it off, somewhat. The song is very reminiscent of "You've Got So Far To Go," but in a good way. "Steamer Trunk" is by far the most unmemorable Alk3 song I have ever heard. Boring as all get out. So far the album has only has one song I'd like to listen to again. Taking a look at the second half of the album, it tends to get much much better.

"You're Dead" is a nice slow number that is this album's "San Francisco." It's a very good song, to be blunt. "Armageddon" follows it up as a great fast punk number. The song is even better live. "I'm Dying Tomorrow" is the best song Dan sings on this album, and is one of the best he has ever sung. There is definite emotion in his voice here. I'm getting chills from this one. Next is "Bloodied Up," one of two songs the Trio gave to the "Another Year On The Streets" comp [the other one being "Crawl"], and sounds great. The fast tempo change seems to come out of nowhere, and I love it. "Trucks And Trains" has a "Sleepyhead" vibe to it, but it just sounds better overall. "Crawl" ends the album with not so much of a bang but not a whimper, either. Dan's voice soothes you for four and a half minutes, and to be honest, this could be a Smoking Popes song. It's a great album ender, and it makes me want to play the album again -- until I realize the first 6 songs are pretty boring.

The Alkaline Trio is shooting for the stars with this album, and I think a lot of former die-hards will abandon them on their journey. I'm just glad I didn't get that tattoo of the skull in the heart on my arm now...
[taken from a different kind of greatness webzine]