So, Alexisonfire just released their first new tune in about a decade; should anyone give a rat’s ass? YES! (Sort of). All over the world and especially in Canada, Alexisonfire is a very important band, and I know many folks, including myself, are salivating at the thought of new music. Their last proper release came in the form of 2010’s Dogs Blood, their last before disbanding the next year despite plans for a fifth album. Lastly, it’s Alexisonfire, c’mon…
The anticipation for new music dates all the way back to Riot Fest 2015 in Toronto, during their first run since reuniting. Before playing their last songs of the night, guitarist Wade MacNeil announced to the crowd, “No more sentimental shit. Alexisonfire is officially back.” As most of us know, that was not the case and the words stated were clarified shortly after as the group being back in each other’s lives. Since then, they made surprise appearances at the beginning of 2017, in Toronto, playing with other staple Canadian rock acts Moneen and Billy Talent (with whom they share a drummer). After playing with the latter, an announcement was made that Alexisonfire would perform in a four-night stint at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall in the coming summer, which would later get postponed to December, but was just as crazy as it would’ve been in June.
The hype was revitalized two weeks ago with a five second sampler, showing a neon light reading, “Familiar Drugs”. As fans of inactive bands tend to do, AoF followers went mental. Questions were being asked, hair was being pulled out, but then… we got another teaser in the form of a cleared Instagram account and a set of blacked out photos revealing the date, 02/15/19, which brings us to now.
Grab your most comfortable vices and check out the brand new track here.
Over their career, Alexisonfire have evolved their sound and pushed it towards a more rock vibe, rather than the in-your-face post-hardcore they started out with. “Familiar Drugs” sees the group continuing that trend despite all the time passed. It is a simplified rock-n-roll song, which unfortunately, is its downfall. One of the guys’ strong suits has always been their melodies and, even though that’s still there, it’s in a much too small capacity. But that is not to say the song is all bad.
Vocalist George Pettit’s voice still holds up and he lets it all out, and Dallas Green, also of City and Colour fame, unleashes his soaring voice on the chorus, blending in quite well with Pettit’s growls. Even the main riff slaps, but it drags on just a little too long. Of course the breakdown, if we can call it that, is solid; it keeps within the simple theme, but is arguably the peak of the song and shows that there are times where you don’t need great technicality to have a great part.
At this point, fans are likely still losing it that this is a real thing (I still am to be honest), but over time, the song just doesn’t do much past the first few listens, despite the joy it has brought. It isn’t unheard of for a first single to be a weaker track compared to the rest of an album, so who knows… maybe this is a sign that an even better album is coming. All we can do is hope.
Along with the song release, the band has announced a handful of shows later on in the year…
06/01 – London, UK @ Alexandra Place
06/08 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
06/13 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
06/15 – Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage
Run Time: 4:19
Release Date: February 15, 2019
Record Label: Dine Alone Records