Alkaline Trio frontman Matt Skiba has spent the past fifteen years fronting the well known Chicago based emo band. Now, Skiba has struck out on his own, so to speak with what could actually be argued to be an emo supergroup in Matt Skiba and The Sekrets. Skiba was joined on this debut release by AFI bassist Hunter Burgan and My Chemical Romance drummer Jarrod Alexander for this project. The resulting sound makes for an album that fans of The Killers and Jimmy Eat World will enjoy, along with long time fans of Alkaline Trio. It also carries themes similar to that of work from Alkaline Trio.
“Babylon” has all the sounds that fans of Jimmy Eat World and The Killers will enjoy. And fans who have followed Alkaline Trio over the years will find “Babylon” to be familiar territory, lyrically and musically speaking. One of the prime examples of this is in ‘All Fall Down.’ Skiba sings in the song, “You’re searching for the answers\Out in the deep blue sea\You’re spreading like a cancer\Across my memory\Give me some radiation\Give me some sense of relief.” This is just one of the handful of songs on the album that delve into the myriad of emotions in the ups and downs of relationships.
Of course, songs centered on personal relationships aren’t all that Skiba and his bandmates cover on “Babylon.” There are also songs of personal struggles. One of the more prominent of those is the album’s opener, ‘Voices.’ Skiba sings in the song’s chorus, “All alone with the voice in your head\SKin and bones\Hell knows\all the poison that you’ve been fed\All alone with the voices in your head\In the dark\As you walk hand in hand\with the living dead\The living dead.” The song comes across as someone fighting his or her own inner conflict. Again, fans who have followed Skiba’s other band, Alkaline Trio, for some time, will find this and the rest of the songs on this album familiar territory.
The familiar sounds aren’t all that make “Babylon” an interesting album. The album’s packaging may seem trivial in the grand scheme of things. But in reality, it helps to give the album its own identity. The packaging for the album isn’t the standard plastic case. Nor is it the standard soft case, either. Rather than simply being an open and close case, audiences have to slide out the sleeve on which the disc sits. The disc is protected by light backing. The lyric booklet sits behind that backing. All said, it makes for easy access without the worry of breaking the case. And the backing for the disc is soft enough that there is no worry about the disc being scratched up when it is removed and replaced.
“Babylon” is obviously a niche album. Fans who have been with Alkaline Trio since the beginning with likely enjoy this album. And it’s just as enjoyable for younger audiences. Those listeners will be able to relate to much of the material on the record. Musically though, it’s an album that could easily find its way onto the mainstream charts, given the right support from program directors at radio stations nation wide.
Fans who want to catch Matt Skiba and The Sekrets live will get their chance this Thursday. The band will be performing in Chicago. The band will finish off the East coast half of its tour next Wednesday, June 13th before heading to California for a handful of dates in the second half of the month. Fans can keep up with all of the band’s latest news and tour dates on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mattskibaandthesekrets.
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