Thrice are alone. Not lost but individual, genreless and content. ‘Major/Minor’ marks not only a fresh peak of the creative curve the band have been on for the last decade or so but a new beginning. It’s so good we might as well call it a clean slate for a band born again. Oh, calm down dears, Thrice still write tight rock riffs, dreamy melodies and alternative anthems but on album number eight they’ve boiled their business down to just the best bits.
There are nods to Rage Against The Machine (‘Yellow Belly’) and Rival Schools (‘Cataracts’), the mathy (yeah, we said it) bluster of ‘Blur’, the gut-wrenchingly gorgeous ‘Words In The Water’ and in ‘Disarmed’ the biggest, baddest and best album closer they’ve ever written. Really though, there are no highlights, because every song is special. Ok, so words like that can sound like hot air but it’s no joke, ‘Major/Minor’ is full, a complete album, and essential listening from start to finish.
Dustin Kensrue’s lyrics continue to be wonderfully formless but do seem to centre around a combination of separation and strength. He sings of not being able to hear or see but there’s no woe-is-me here, instead only lines about fighting and resisting and soldiering on. And sometimes it does feel like Kensrue’s record. But then some amazing guitar texture or other, fiery, fluid bass run, or Riley Breckenridge’s drums (oh man is this his best work) power through and you realise it belongs to all of them. And it keeps going like that too. Every time you think you’ve got it pegged , ‘Major/Minor’ sharply, but ever so sweetly of course, pulls the rug out from under your feet.
It’s perhaps the most immediate record Thrice have ever produced but reveals hidden depths with every fresh listen, it’s by turns memorably massive and up-close and personal but nothing comes cheap or easy, it feels familiar, like it’s always been here, but still sounds capable of changing lives tomorrow, and, like the best work of Deftones or Radiohead before it, ‘Major/Minor’ feels like part of something but defiantly stands out on its own too. Separation and strength. And the criticisms occasionally levelled at the band count for nothing here, this record is alive (hell, it’s gritty and powerful enough to actually be a live album), energetic, diverse and strong. The best thing though? You sense that once this record was pressed, released into the big bad world, Thrice immediately stopped worrying about it and set off in search of their next adventure, inspiration, and evolution.