Alkaline Trio/Hot Water Music Split
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After touring together and courting similar pop-punk fans, Alkaline Trio and Hot Water Music decided to pool forces for this seven-song EP of original material and covers. Alkaline Trio's new material is true to their current form; the emotional, tripping-over-my-broken-heart stories are about girls and boys getting kicked in the head by their relationships. Ironically, the best song they offer on this disc is "Rooftops," a song taken from Hot Water Music's 1999 album No Division. The song is a nice change of pace from the Trio's usual midtempo trot through their angst-ridden world. HWM takes over for the second half of the disc, offering two original tracks and covering two of the Trio's songs--"Radio" from Maybe I'll Catch Fire and the aptly named "Bleeder" from Alkaline Trio. Although the differences between the two bands sound slight at first, HWM's material feels more urgently driven by the end, mainly because of the sandpapery vocals and more forceful guitar work. Overall, this split EP doesn't break any new ground musically, but it's a decent item for the avid fans of either band. --Jennifer Maerz
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This jade tree release features three tracks from AK3; two originals and a cover version of "Rooftops". The two originals (Queen Of Pain, While You're Waiting) are typical of the band. Featuring dark lyrics and catchy choruses.
While the songs are very good, two small points became an issue for me. First problem is the backing track of Skiba singing over his own voice. The Dan Adriano background vocals serve a big part of the Trio's music. His voice is not present throughout all of the three tracks. Another small detail i felt obliged to mention is the annoying clapping sequence in "While You're Waiting". While it's no big deal, it does tend to irritate me.
The cover of Rooftops is probably AK3's shining moment on this disc. Their rendition gives the song a more poppy feel, and provides a good listen.
It's now track four and Hot Water Music have taken over, with a track entitled "God Deciding", an original. This song puts the two vocalists to good use. The transitions are flawless. "Russian Roulette" follows. It's a good song with an acoustic intro and a catchy chorus. The HWM version of "Radio" is easily the best song of the lot, and one the best covers i have ever heard. Hot Water Music have a way of showing show much emotion through their music and it is displayed here. The disc closes with an acoustic version of "bleeder", which is coincidentally probably the worst on this split.
One thing that differs between the feel of the two bands songs is the production. Hot Water Music seem to have a rawer sound, which translates to a more emotional and intense listen. Alkaline Trio sound a lot more polished and poppy, and this suits their style of music.
This is one of those over before you know it releases. Which in a way is good, because that means i can keep going back and listening to it over and over again. Quite clearly these two bands are not the same, that's probably what this split set out to do; display the diversity between two bands who seemingly fit into the same genre and share the same label.
I like both of these bands, i like this split.
"Queen of Pain" the lead track from Alkaline Trio is perhaps the perfect song to start the split with. With the combination of the guitar and drums that starts out the song, it's hard not to want to bounce along. Add to this the catchy vocals that you can sing along to and you've got a near perfect pop song. Unfortunately, like most good pop songs this one is going to stick around in your head for awhile. I found myself singing this chorus of this song to myself for days after my first listen. Perhaps this start is too strong though because after it, the next track, a more traditional Alkaline Trio mid-tempo song, seems like a disappointment. Although, the pace does pick up a bit with their interesting take on Hot Water Music's "Rooftops."
The second highlight of the split comes during the Hot Water Music half with their cover of Alkaline Trio's "Radio." For those familiar with the original version of the song, the Hot Water Music doesn't stray that far from the original. While keeping this fidelity to the original, through the drastically different vocals, Hot Water Music is able to make the song their own. The song becomes fused with a combination of anger and angst. Lines such as "Taking your own life with boredom, I'm taking my own life with wine" take on a new sadness that is not as obvious in the original version. The other offerings from Hot Water Music, including another cover "Bleeder" are just as strong and a decent example of the sound that can be expected from the band.
at first i was blown away by the alkaline material, skiba and company are at their best... again the lyrics are inspired and original ('you've been know to say you are a.o.k. when you are feeling dead inside, i just want you to know i got no place to go until the day you die...') and the music, though lacking in the complexity HWM bring to the fold, fits the mood of the songs... and they even seem to surpass HWM in their cover of 'rooftops'.
at first hot water music's addition to the ep was slightly disappointing, but after a while, the words stuck in my head were not skiba's, but rather hot water material... i was really disappointed at first by the cover of 'bleeder', which is my favorite A3 song, but now i really like it. it's very original, instead of trying to sound like A3, hot water music took their own edge into the song, and it is a great song, but it needs time to grow on you.
find some mp3's from this ep and check out the stuff yourself, and don't be set back by first impressions... the best albums are the ones that aren't initially cohesive, they are the ones which challenge you.