by Brooke Ketron
The California-based rock band, Thrice, is notorious for delivering studio albums which represent nearly every type of genre. Their three most recent releases Beggars (2009), The Alchemy Index (2007) and Vheissu (2005) almost sound as if they are works made by three different bands. Thrice’s ability to evolve their song styling between genres earns them the respect of the music industry.
New turns in release number four
Their newest release, Major/Minor takes the best parts of their first three albums and combines them into a raw, grunge sound reminiscent of the 1990s. As done in Beggars, most of Major/Minor was recorded live, bringing life and realness to the instruments. Though softer than Vheissu, the new album contains dark, minor chord melodies while incorporating their familiar blues groove.
Again, Thrice demonstrates their influence for many young bands today like The Used, Underoath and Every Time I Die. Vocalist, Dustin Kensrue, remits a powerful performance in Major/Minor that sounds untreated, a deep contrast from most songs heard on popular radio. The honesty of such a performance is not compromised by the remaining members of the band. In fact, drummer Riley Breckenridge gives one of his best efforts on the album. His off-key drum rolls in songs like “Words in the Water” and innovative drum styling in “Cataracts” really deserves recognition.
“Yellow Belly” opens the album with an aggressive guitar riff and drum beats that compliment Dustin’s vocals as he unleashes his view of domestic violence. While the first three tracks are nothing to dismiss, the album gains momentum leading into track four. “Cataracts” reveals a lighter side of Thrice that has not been shown before, and is just as impressive. “Call it in Air” then sonically briefs you on Thrice’s last three records: tying in lighter elements resembling Beggars and The Alchemy Index and progressing into heavier choruses also seen in Vheissu.
Arguably the best song on the album, “Words in the Water” reminds you that Thrice has not lost the ability to raise every hair on your arm. The gentle verses but powerful choruses take you down a path from major into minor chord that’s inspiring. It makes you wish the song was longer than its already six minutes. “Disarmed” brings a relaxed feel with its soothing guitars and consistent drums and carries over into a very Coldplay-style of group chants. The final lyrics appropriately read, “We will cross over unharmed,” wrapping up the album peacefully and perfectly.
Major/Minor sets Thrice at the foreground of musical evolution, devotion and consistency. Their attention to raw, unaltered sound makes mainstream music seem like nothing more than child’s play. Thrice gives those looking for something new, yet familiar something they can embrace in this new effort, released on Sept. 20.