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Thrice – Major/Minor

September 27, 2011

Earlier this week I picked up Thrice‘s new album Major/Minor off of iTunes. Over the last several years I’ve been able to listen to Thrice’s musical evolution from album to album (with the exception of Artist in the Ambulance…which I should remedy soon), and have enjoyed their course from high speed, metal infused punk rock into their current space on the forward edge of rock music.

I do readily admit that I haven’t followed Thrice as closely over the last year or so as I have in the past. When I was told that they had a new album out my reaction was a bit confused. Had it been that long since they had put out Beggars? Turns out the gap between the two albums is a little over 2 years. I have been out of the loop…

Anyway, more thoughts about Major/Minor. On the album’s wiki page it’s mentioned that this album was designed to be bigger than Beggars and it certainly achieved that goal. Musically I feel like it really follows the trend towards indie rock circa 2004. More than a couple of the tracks remind me of musical ideas that Denison Marrs used on their last two albums, released in 2002 and 2004. That being said, I don’t think that Thrice’s sound is so much a musical regression as it is reinvention. While the sound is familiar, these songs are certainly Thrice tracks.

Throughout the years, Thrice’s sound has always been set apart from the rest of whatever scene they were part of by Dustin Kensrue’s vocals and Teppei Teranishi’s guitar riffs. Back in 2007 I had the privilege of seeing Dustin’s live set at Uprising Fest in Irvine and was pleasantly surprised to find that what you got in the live show was exactly what you heard on album. Where a lot of rock acts fall flat vocally (literally), Kensrue maintains pitch and conveys a sincere range of emotions. With Thrice, the musical backing provided by Teranishi, and brothers Eddie and Riley Breckenridge only adds to the depth of the musical quality. This album isn’t any different in that regard. Here’s a live performance of the album’s opener, “Yellow Belly”.

I hate to make it sound like Major/Minor is more of the same, because it’s definitely an expansion on Thrice’s previous work. I think the biggest problem I run into with this album is trying to describe where it sits on the musical landscape. A friend of mine told me the album was Thrice’s take on early 90s grunge. Personally I feel like this album is too complex to fit into your typical alt-rock box, but accessible enough that it’s hard to put anywhere else. Still, it’s a very solid album that I’m sure will continue to grow on me in the coming weeks.

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