A brilliant seventh set from a band that gets better and better.
Raziq Rauf 2011-09-08
Thrice appear to be getting better and better with every album released. Major/Minor is their seventh studio album and certainly follows that upwards trend: the follow-up to 2009’s Beggars may well be the Californian quartet’s best yet. The thing that strikes you immediately is how remarkably honest-sounding this record is, frontman Dustin Kensrue’s voice clear and true. It sounds as if the songs have simply been recorded and released, with no post-production activity. There’s little-to-no treatment on his gravelly voice, and there’s a simplicity to the music and songs that allows the listener to enjoy them at a very elemental level.
The amount of groove in opening track, Yellow Belly, offers a comforting aside to the desperation in Kensrue’s vocals as he yells, "You don’t care." As straightforward as the song might initially seem, its construction and delivery are far from easy. It comes across as emotional in the same way as Rival Schools, with a yearning evident but a superior musical control to balance the outpourings. The upbeat but melancholy, achingly beautiful Blinded is a perfect example of this band’s expert poise.
Riley Breckenridge is an exceptional drummer: something worth focusing on alone, as his contributions are consistently of a superb standard. He delivers more unorthodox, jazzier moments like in Words in the Water as well as he does the straight-ahead sections like in the …Trail of Dead-like Listen Through Me. Breckenridge, whose brother Eddie plays bass here, has reached an impressive level of technical ability without overdoing anything, without dominating the mix to the detriment of the whole. The punchy rhythms that run all the way through Cataracts are just another testament to the man’s incredible skills.
If there’s a vague criticism to be directed at Major/Minor, it’s that it could be perceived as one-paced by some. There aren’t any real ballads to be found, nor is there anything too fast, either; there’s nothing exceptionally heavy, but nor is there anything too lightweight. The relaxed yet powerful vibe that permeates, however, is constant and comfortable. This is the sound of a band hitting their stride and just running with all of their strengths on show – and there can be no complaints about that.