If Thrice is anything, they are ridiculously consistent and fantastically productive. A new Thrice album is an expected event, as if an odd-numbered year marks a new release of Thrice material. Which is fine, as they could likely be considered one of the most influential and pioneering acts in contemporary music. They are always trying something new (they released a quadruple album about the elements) always striving forward with their sound (their earliest material was post-hardcore, their last- half acoustic) and always having a message contained in their songs. I sound like a bias fan boy, but I can respect a band who moves forward while also holding true the best qualities of their music. All their albums can be considered a favorite among fans, all their albums push the envelope and are critically acclaimed. Their newest release is no exception.
Major/Minor is heavier than before, less introspective, and more about delivering quality rhythms and melodies while toning down the balladry and emotional impact. it’s not to say that Major/Minor is dull or that it has less resonance. it’s just that it’s…well, consistent.
Each song bleeds into the other and doesn’t quite stand on its own as well as many older Thrice records, where individuality was the name of the game. We have a sort of neutrality here, where ballads are minimal. The sound does harken back to a younger, more naive Thrice. Frontman Dustin Kensrue snarls where appropriate, but holds a rather tame and contained voice, never dipping into sappy melodrama or all-out ferociousness. His voice alone makes for a rather singularly-focused record.
Major/Minor is a little abrasive and lacks that clean production from other Thrice albums. But what it lacks in cleanliness it makes up for in an moderately aggressive and dirty production style. Promises delivers one of the best riff leads on the record, and Words in the Water harkens back to the Alchemy Index’s moody slow-paced pieces (without being an all out ballad).
Anthology has the strongest pop hook here, and will likely be seen as a fan favorite in the coming years. And Yellow Belly, the first track on the record, is most reminiscent of old-school Thrice with a strong lead riff and that typical sound from, arguably, The Artist in the Ambulance. Thrice also manages to close the album with Disarmed, a surprisingly eloquent piece, and one that made me wish, slightly, that the whole album was similar to it.
What I love about Thrice is the instrumentation, the complete control over their sound and the power of their strongest songs. Thrice has this scattered about over a collection of 11 influential albeit standard songs (let me be clear: the THRICE standard). Thrice have delivered an almost exceptional record, brought down by the relatively consistent sound throughout, and the lack of any phenomenal tracks. Where Thrice haven’t made a classic here, they sure have further proved their nature as a productive group, and drawing fans further into their honesty, integrity, and approachability.