Friday, 2 October 2009

Thrice - Beggars Album Review

I've been trying to write a review of this album for over a week now, and through repeat listens I'm trying to make my decision on it. Everything about how this album sounds is what I love in a band- overwrought dramatic soundscapes, pummelling riffs and a pained but never whiny voice. There is absolutely no denying the musical competency of all the band and Dustin Kensrue possesses one of the most underrated voices of our time, some thing he displayed perfectly on his country tinged solo album.

All this said, I'm still struggling to find a hook that sticks in my head. Obviously this is not what all albums are about, but I'm not looking for mile wide choruses just those moments of charm that make you go back to a song/album again and again. This separates a good album and a great album to me.

On repeat listens, I'm starting to find them. From the staccato drums that pile in opener, All The World Is Mad, to the subtle plucked guitar line that underpins the verse to The Weight (a song that beautifully explodes in the chorus). Circles is the first song to display Thrice's ability to bring the volume down a few notches and still be able to keep you listening. Wood And Wire and Exile also display the softer side of the band. In the case of In Exile, just when you start to get bored of it, the song breaks into the most incredibly lifting chorus of "whoahs". Definitely a stand out.

Talking Through The Glass/We Move Through Swing Sets feels a little one dimensional and lacks anything that makes it stand out, and after so many soft songs, The Great Exchange leaves me a little cold as well, possessing none of the charm of earlier tracks of the same pace. Closer Beggars however ends the album on a high. Opening softly and slowly building into a monster of a song, it displays Thrice, and Dustin's voice especially, at it's best.

Thrice long since took a step out of the scene that birthed them. Much like Brand New, they've created a niche all of their own, and a sound that is so distinctly theirs. After the epic scope of their previous Alchemy Index releases (2 sets of 2 mini albums) and the fact that they are probably never going to better "Artist In The Ambulance", Beggars was always going to be a tough release. It's a good album without doubt, but perhaps lacking the charm that will see listeners going back to it in years to come.