Album Review :
Thrice - Major/Minor

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Artist: Thrice

Album: Major/Minor

Record Label: Vagrant Records

  1. Yellow Belly
  2. Promises
  3. Blinded
  4. Cataracts
  5. Call It In The Air
  6. Treading Paper
  7. Blur
  8. Words On The Water
  9. Listen Through Me
  10. Anthology
  11. Disarmed

Not too many bands stand the test of time trying out what sounds best after already having a unique sound to begin with.  A decade after their debut full-length, Identity Crisis , Thrice releases their seventh full length project, Major/Minor. What has separated Thrice from the other bands that have been around as long as they have, is the change in sound they have been able to produce from album to album. Major/Minor is no different. Thrice once again proves to fans that this band can change and be original. However, in the process, never losing what made the band what they are today.

What has always kept Thrice relevant through out the years was the fact that album to album, nobody knows what to expect. After Beggars was released the question was “what will they do next?” Being such a raw album in a production sense and full of subtle but complicated musicianship, there were only so many possibilities. Major/Minor is introduced, “Yellow Belly”, with a heavy riff manufactured by Teppei Taranishi’s hands and a baritone guitar. After an eight bar introduction Dustin Kensrue’s rough and rugged yet clear voice is pushed through the drums and guitar work finishing each phrase “But you don’t care, you don’t care.”  A very epic introduction to a long awaited release.

One thing that Thrice has been known for is song placement.  Album to album since Identity Crisis every song has been placed in almost the right spot. Major/Minor is no different.  Starting off the first four tracks with what you can consider heavier tracks with blazing vintage crunch and rolling bass lines  to get the groove going. Then on to what can be considered a stand out track “Call It In The Air” where the vibe mellows out a bit. Then a dynamic roller coaster from then on going into the last two tracks, “Anthology” and “Disarmed”.  You can definitely pick and choose the songs you favor, but listening to the album straight through is not a chore. Every song has its unique moments and make it hard not to listen from beginning to end.  You almost feel naked if the next track does not begin where it was supposed to.

Something that is quite noticeable about Major/Minor, as is with all the other albums Thrice has created, is the growth in the band.  The musicianship in this album is impeccable.  Whether it be smooth time signature changes or the use of a borrowed chord here and there, this album contains some of the best work the band has done.  The use of major chords in the place of minor chords, hence the title of the album, is what makes this album different from a lot of the stuff Thrice has ever done.  A technique done by bands such as Pearl Jam and Nirvana in the early 90’s, which is the reason why this album has a grunge type feel here and there. Especially in the track “Yellow Belly”, in which “Major/Minor” was the working title for the song.

Not only maturing as musicians but also maturing as song writers. Unlike previous releases where sometimes the meanings behind the lyrics can be vague, Major/Minor, lyrically, tends to stray away from double meanings and vagueness. Songs like “Listen Through Me”, “Blinded”, and “Disarmed” are clear discriptions of the gospel. Although Thrice is not a faith based band, Dustin Kensrue is known to be a believer and from time to time leads worship at a Mars Hill in southern California. Though the whole album is not a stereotypical preachy album, there is nothing hidden in the aspect of Dustin’s faith. There are also the songs that are specific towards other strong subjects such as abuse to others, “Yellow Belly”, to the continuing theme of the song “The Weight” (Beggars) with “Promises”.  

One of the stand out on Major/Minor is the song “Anthology”. A song that takes phrases from older Thrice songs put together as an, well, anthology to the fans and also written for Dustin’s wife and family.  A song that contains lines from a few of the songs the band has produced on previous records. Phrases taken from songs such as “Atlantic” (Vheissu), “Trust” (The Illusion of Safety), “The Whaler” (The Alchemy Index: Water), “In The Years To Come” (The Illusion of Safety) among others. This song is beautiful and well put together with a chorus that resounds “Oh you know me, and I know you. And I know that we can see this through”. Also one thing that is back for the song is Teppei riffing some pull offs which have not been as frequently heard through the last couple releases. A song written in a Major mode has possibly the happiest feel for being a Thrice song written thus far.

Overall: From start to finish, Major/Minor does what every Thrice album does. Keeps the listener intrigued from the first riff on track one, “Yellow Belly”, to the harmonizing chant like voices at the end of track eleven, “Disarmed”. This album contains things that Thrice has made in the past with it’s own original spin. Written in a time where positive, major, things have taken place, such as the birth of Dustin’s third child. To where the negative, or minor, events took place, such as the death of Teppei’s mother and Ed and Riliy’s father, this album mirrors the past and present of this band and continues on the legacy that many hope to continue.