It’s safe to say that Matt Skiba knows what he’s doing. He’s been writing his goth-tinged punk songs and pop melodies with Alkaline Trio for nearly twenty years now, and when you include the songs he’s written and performed with The Sekrets, Heavens, theHell, as well as his own name, it’s easy to imagine that he’s picked up a thing or two along the way. KUTS, his second album with Matt Skiba and The Sekrets (featuring the same lineup as before: AFI bassist Hunter Burgen and ex-Death By Stereo drummer Jarrod Alexander), sees him going Full Skiba without looking back.
Much like Babylon, the first album put out under The Sekrets moniker, KUTS takes the successful marriage of Skiba’s catchy hooks and dark lyricism, and tosses heavy doses of synthesizers into the mix. Possibly even more this time around. Fans of Skiba’s songs on more recent Alkaline Trio albums (This Addiction and My Shame Is True in particular) should be pleased. As a matter of fact, there are several songs that sound like they didn’t quite make the cut during the My Shame Is True sessions, as they carry the same themes of heartbreak and separation, likely due to Skiba’s divorce.
It doesn’t offer much by way of genre experimentation, but what KUTS lacks in variety it makes up for in fun, sad songs. From the opening notes of “Lonely and Kold” to the infectious choruses of “Krazy” and “Krashing” (the band likes to replace their C’s with K’s a lot), to the closing notes of “Vienna,” the album is full of top notch pop songs to listen to while drinking, much like one would hope for from the same man that wrote songs such as “Stupid Kid,” “97,” and “Blue in the Face.”
Everything on this album has all been done by before, by Skiba himself nonetheless, but he’s doing things exactly the way he wants them to be done. Who are we to say that he’s wrong?
3.5 / 5
RIYL: Alkaline Trio (circa 2010-present), The Cure (circa 1979), Heavens