Alkaline Trio

Ah, the humble B-side; a much-abused dumping ground for crappy demos, pointless remixes and annoyingly arch renditions of Girls Aloud songs. Talk about fan fleecing! So, considering my sole Alkaline Trio live experience was nothing to write home about, the idea of an odds and sods contractual obligation didn’t exactly set the old juices flowing.

Surprisingly, ‘Remains’ isn’t half bad. It deserves an A for effort alone with band-written sleevenotes, a DVD documenting all the crazy guff the Trio get up to on the road and, somewhat crucially, high calibre tracks.

‘Hell Yes’ is a feisty opener in the vein of earlier hit, ‘Private Eye’, with lyrics focussed on their penchant for, ahem, the dark side, whilst ‘Dead End Road’ is clearly indebted to ‘Kerplunk’-era Green Day. Don’t let the doomy exterior fool you; Alkaline Trio are raw melody men at heart from the almost bubblegum-sounding ‘My Standard Break From Life’ to the Replacements-esque pisshead pop of ‘Old School Reasons’. Elsewhere, ‘Fine Without You’ is an arena-sized belter that doesn’t sacrifice punk energy and, on ‘Don’t Say You Won’t, Alkaline Trio pay homage to 80s synth pop.

Traditionally, such releases are strictly for fans. However, the best compliment I can bestow upon ‘Remains’ is that it sounds more like an all-new Alkaline Trio album that even outsiders can enjoy rather than a mere hotchpotch of leftovers.

Ross Halewood