Because of Skiba’s prominence in Alkaline Trio it’s obvious that his solo effort is bound to have quite a few similarities in sound. His dark, depressing lyrics and usual guitar tones are still here, but there are also some distinct differences that play a strong role in the album. Besides, if you like Alkaline Trio then you’ve got nothing to complain about if Babylon sounds similar. It’s still a solid album on its own merit.
One of the more subtle differences, something that no one else may even care about, is the use of a female vocalist in tracks like “Olivia” and “You”. Her contribution added a serene layer that contrasted Skiba’s vocals beautifully – despite how faint these vocals were. Another not-so-small deviance from his expected sound comes in the form of synths. This album boasts a sort of ‘80s dance music inspiration that rears its energetic head most readily in “Falling Like Rain” (though “All Fall Down” and “Voices” utilize them as well). All synth talk aside, this track also has one of the most instantly singable choruses Skiba has ever written.
Those are the main variances on the album, but as I’ve said, there are those songs that could have easily been tracks on a future or past Trio album. Tracks like “How The Hell Did We Get Here” and “Luciferian Blues” sound as though they very well may have started as demos for any of the last three Trio albums. Same goes for the mostly acoustic closer “Angel of Deaf”.
You can stream clips of the album here: http://www.amazon.com/Babylon-Matt-Skiba/dp/B007O3BHI0 but I recommend you pick this one up if you haven’t already. Babylon is a great listen, albeit not a musical revolution. It’s what we’ve grown to know and love from Skiba.
RIYL: Alkaline Trio, The Lawrence Arms, theHELL
2. All Fall Down
3. Luciferian Blues
4. Haven’t You
5. The End of Joy
8. Falling Like Rain
9. How The Hell Did We Get Here
10. Angel of Deaf