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Alkaline Trio - Blood, Hair, and Eyeballs (Album Review)

Monday, 05 February 2024 Written by Will Marshall

Photo: Jonathan Weiner

It’s been a little more than five years since Alkaline Trio last sent out an arterial spray of uniquely sardonic, gothy punk-rock, and the world they have returned to with ‘Blood, Hair, and Eyeballs’ perhaps resembles the black mirror they’ve long held up up more obviously than ever before.

In response, the band — with guitarist-vocalist Matt Skiba now excised from Blink-182 and drummer Derek Grant enjoying one last outing — have taken a more back-to-basics approach, saying that they focused on their strengths as a power-trio as Nirvana and the Police once did.

Stylistically those comparisons mean next to nothing. But there’s no denying that ‘Blood, Hair, and Eyeballs’ does at times recapture the raw, anthemic nature of their earlier work.

It’s just that while it’s gloomy, hooky and darkly funny, a sense of predictability sets in and works against them — this could be ‘Is This Thing Cursed?’ or any of their recent records, for that matter. 

The opener Hot for Preacher boasts a fantastic name and offers something of a microcosm of the record’s strengths and weaknesses. Its off-kilter opening lick is unexpected and doesn’t quite stick the landing, but an ingenious chorus hook helps keep the song on track. 

As we have come to expect, Skiba and bassist-vocalist Dan Andriano trade vocal lines throughout, nailing the brilliantly catchy Versions of You and digging up idiosyncratic, gloomy pop melodies as good as anything they’ve written in the past on Bad Time and Scars. The title track, meanwhile, cleverly evokes nightmares by providing macabre twists to mundane turns of phrase.

Truthfully, though, the focus on the band’s fundamentals does mean the songwriting is exactly as you’d expect, rather than attempting any new tricks. ‘Blood, Hair, and Eyeballs’ is, ultimately, another Alkaline Trio record true to their tried and tested formula, which is something of a double-edged sword. It’s by the book but, on the other hand, when they’re this good at what they do it’s great to have them hanging out and being miserable punks again.

Alkaline Trio Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu February 22 2024 - ANAHEIM California - House of Blues Anaheim (USA)
Fri February 23 2024 - SAN DIEGO California - Mainstage at SOMA San Diego - Complex (USA)
Sat February 24 2024 - PHOENIX Arizona - Van Buren (USA)
Mon February 26 2024 - DALLAS Texas - House of Blues Dallas (USA)
Tue February 27 2024 - AUSTIN Texas - Stubbs BarBQ (USA)
Wed February 28 2024 - HOUSTON Texas - House of Blues Houston (USA)
Fri March 01 2024 - ATLANTA Georgia - Tabernacle Atlanta (USA)
Sat March 02 2024 - ORLANDO Florida - House of Blues Orlando (USA)
Sun March 03 2024 - CHARLOTTE North Carolina - Fillmore Charlotte at AvidXchange Music Factory (USA)
Tue March 05 2024 - SILVER SPRING Maryland - Fillmore Silver Spring (USA)
Wed March 06 2024 - PHILADELPHIA Pennsylvania - Fillmore Philadelphia (USA)
Fri March 08 2024 - CLEVELAND Ohio - Agora Theater (USA)
Sat March 09 2024 - FOREST HILLS New York - Knockdown Center (USA)
Sun March 10 2024 - BOSTON Massachusetts - House of Blues Boston (USA)
Tue March 12 2024 - TORONTO Ontario - History - Toronto (Canada)
Wed March 13 2024 - MONTREAL - Beanfield Theatre (USA)
Fri March 15 2024 - ROYAL OAK Michigan - Royal Oak Music Theatre (USA)
Sat March 16 2024 - CHICAGO Illinois - Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom (USA)
Sun March 17 2024 - ST LOUIS - Pageant (USA)
Mon March 18 2024 - MINNEAPOLIS Minnesota - Fillmore Minneapolis (USA)
Wed March 20 2024 - DENVER Colorado - Fillmore Auditorium (USA)
Thu March 21 2024 - SALT LAKE CITY Utah - Rockwell at Complex SLC - Complex (USA)
Sat March 23 2024 - SEATTLE Washington - Showbox SoDo (USA)
Sun March 24 2024 - VANCOUVER British Columbia - Vogue Theatre - BC (Canada)
Mon March 25 2024 - PORTLAND Oregon - Mcmenamins Crystal Ballroom (USA)
Wed March 27 2024 - SAN FRANCISCO California - Masonic San Francisco (USA)
Fri March 29 2024 - LOS ANGELES California - Novo (USA)
Sat March 30 2024 - LAS VEGAS Nevada - Brooklyn Bowl at The LINQ Hotel and Casino - Complex (USA)

Mon July 22 2024 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Boiler Shop
Tue July 23 2024 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Wed July 24 2024 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Fri July 26 2024 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town
Sat July 27 2024 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Sun July 28 2024 - MANCHESTER O2 Ritz
Tue July 30 2024 - GLASGOW O2 Academy Glasgow
Wed July 31 2024 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute

Sun August 04 2024 - COLOGNE Love Music Hall (Germany)
Tue August 06 2024 - BERLIN Huxleys (Germany)
Sat August 10 2024 - WELS Alter Schlachthof (Austria)
Sun August 11 2024 - MUNICH Backstage Werk (Germany)

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