Music To Eat Lunch To – Alkaline Trio – Remains

Release date: January 2007

Label: Vagrant

Tracks: 22

Rating: 10

The latest release from Chicago punk trio Alkaline Trio, Remains is a compilation CD that incorporates tracks from foreign releases, B-sides, and other compilation albums. Normally, B-side collections don’t impress me all that much; however, this is a huge exception to the rule.

Remains includes ?Hell Yes,? ?Jaked on Green Beers,? ?Queen of Pain,? and ?Dead and Broken,? arguably some of the band’s most accomplished tracks. Live versions of ?Dethbed,? ?My Standard Break from Life,? and ?I’m Dying Tomorrow? make this a record that really raises the standard for all compilation albums.

Included with the CD is a separate DVD that offers up five music videos, the making of the ?Burn? video, a radio interview, and the ?I Was a Prayer? acoustic version recorded in Scotland. You also get candid footage of Matt Skiba, Dan Andriano, and Derek Grant practising, performing, and generally goofing around–the whole DVD makes a great addition to the comp and gives you a real feel for the band itself. Seeing the three musicians in full makeup and punk costume reminds you of where their influences lie and gives you an impression of what really went into the songwriting process.

As far as the 22 music tracks are concerned, the comp is a complete success. The only record I can compare this to in terms of its sound and the complete effect it had on me is Green Day’s definitive album Dookie–and that is really the highest compliment I could ever give a band or an album.

These are two bands that have been influenced by many of the same classic and modern punk bands and that wound up formulating their own uniquely punk sound that is palatable to far more people than the normal Bad Religion/Anti-Flag crowd. Alkaline Trio falls into a category that encompasses not only the wildly successful Green Day but also other very talented soft-core punk bands like Millencolin and Downway.

This is a record that should please not only punk fans who are already familiar with the band, but anyone who appreciates more alternative bands like the Tragically Hip or The Strokes. The hard-core look of the band members and the somewhat pointed lyrical content of the songs let you know where Alkaline Trio is truly coming from and trying to say, but the real musical talent involved in the songwriting shines through and could convert even a diehard anti-punk/metal advocate.

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