Alkaline Trio’s Damnesia, a unique take on what would be their best-of album, will have fans remembering the good old days. It includes classics and fan favorites reworked in a semi-unplugged style, some new material, and a cover of “I Held Her in My Arms” by Violent Femmes.Starting off with an acoustic and energetic version of “Calling All Skeletons,” the stripped down instrumentals amplify the emotional intensity of each song, and some even sound better than the originals.
The semi-unplugged instrumentals highlight powerful vocals as well as the simultaneously romantic and violent lyrics. The band’s signature lyrical content, filled with morbid romance simply sounds more poignant. “This Could be Love” is a prime example. One brief section of the album even slips into slightly country sounding territory. A new track, “Olde English 800” is a short and semi-lighthearted serenade to its malt liquor namesake, which fades perfectly into “I Held Her in My Arms.” Unplugged, “Every Thug Needs a Lady” is arguably better than its original and sounds even more like the perfect love letter.
Damnesia is proof of the band’s versatility and is an essential addition to any true fan’s collection.