good bands use time as a vehicle to shape-shift. radiohead. crime in stereo. n*e*r*d. bands with staying power test the waters, they feel their way from sound to sound, album to album in an attempt to stay fresh. add irvine, california’s thrice to that list. their new offering major/minor is a triumphant stumble back into territory long forgotten.
i discovered thrice many years ago. i was drawn to their complex signatures and hectic guitar nastiness. to this day illusion of safety and the artist in the ambulance are two records i never get tired of hearing. the energy and honesty in thrice’s music is something hard to ignore. the alchemy index, vheissu and beggars all expanded on thrice’s trademark sound. but as the band grew, each record seemed to be less and less about imitation or replication. instead, they became concerned with the freedom of the creative process incorporating more electronic, ambient noise to their already crowded plate. experimentation alienated thrice’s fans and many jumped ship.
major/minor is circuital record that brings thrice home. it’s busy as hell, complex and aggressive; ambitious enough to attract the radio and maybe the billboard charts. “treading paper” is contagiously rhythmic, with a nearly bluesy bassline that’s miles away from anything the band has attempted to date. while “promises” channels the bands best bush imitation, and somehow it works. “yellow belly”, the albums opening track, with its fuzzy distortion reminds me of the doom and gloom of the deftones in all their glory.
i love the fact that the next thrice album is a coin toss. often that unpredictability equates to longevity in the fickle snow globe of rock and roll. love them or hate them, thrice has never been afraid to walk off the beaten path. their commitment to creativity has guaranteed fans one thing. they’re never going to make the same record twice.