Review Summary: Thornley puts an edge on rock that other mainstream bands lack.
A while back I was a die-hard radio, mainstream rocker. It was all about Linkin Park, Puddle of Mudd, and Nickelback. They rocked hard, and I felt cool listening to a head-knocking radio single. Many of us went through this stage, an ignorant, happy stage where we don’t know any better. Then a band comes along that begins to open our eyes and we begin to learn the truth. You all have your different bands that got you going in the right direction. This band for me was Thornley.
Guitarist Ian Thornley started his band after the breakup of Big Wreck, a progressive rock band from Boston. Ian gathered a group of talented musicians for his band’s 2004 debut album: Come Again.
Ian Thornley- vocals, guitar
Tavis Stanley- guitar
Cale Gontier- bass
Eric Paul- drums
Thornley did sign onto Chad Kroeger’s 604 Records, so there is definitely a mainstream, 3rd wave post-grunge influence, but because of Ian’s progressive roots, Come Again has an edge that mainstream rock bands lack. Come Again combines huge, brash guitar hooks with unconventional techniques to make a sound that is accessible to radio listeners yet deep enough to interest the more pretentious music listeners. This is far from a flawless album, but it’s worth a listen.
The album starts crashingly heavy, with the chugging, cymbal-heavy album opener “Falling to Pieces”. Ian’s voice is a perfect for this song and for the album, gruff with great range. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ian listened to his share of Soundgarden growing up, because at times he sounds hauntingly like Chris Cornell. Next is the title track, which sounds like the ballad of the album. However, unlike the ballad’s we have grown to hate on mainstream radio, the lyrics aren’t insufferably lame and the guitar play is intricate. “So Far So Good” was one of the singles from Come Again, and features some of the same bulldozer-heavy riffs, and “The Going Rate” grows and grows in intensity with an acoustic guitar and more heavy electric riffs.
Another acoustic guitar opens up “Keep a Good Man Down” at this point the album is starting to get slightly repetitious. Luckily, next is “Easy Comes”, the other radio single. Hopefully you’ve heard this one. The song explodes out of the gates with a furiously frantic guitar riff that is extremely catchy (think of how “Stockholm Syndrome” by Muse starts). The chorus is pounding and the lyrics are perhaps the best of the album, making this the best song on the album. Download this song if you’re interested! It rocks! “Beautiful” is a laid-back track that at times bursts into more heavy-riffage. The guitars on “Bright Side” have a cool off-beat timing and a shattering bridge, but again the album is starting to sound the same.
“Clever” starts the home stretch, and follows the same crushing riff-formula as most the songs on this album, as does the next song, “Found Another Way”. Thankfully, the album’s final two songs make listening to the entire album worth it. “It All Comes Out in the Wash” starts with delicate finger picking (a refreshing contrast to the loud guitars that dominate the album) and the lyrics are actually quite clever:
“After all is said and done, it's over after all
You barely cried as you waved goodbye
It all comes out in the wash”
The last track, “The Lies That I Believe” is my favorite from the album, and is also the longest. What’s the deal with bands who are afraid to take risks until the last couple tracks of the album? Many times the songs are the best! Such is the case here. The entire song breeds energy, the guitars have a slight, trippy distortion, the lyrics are meaningful, and their’s a very sweet guitar solo. All in all, a great song.
There are many problems with this album (repetitive and heavy riffs, lyrics are a joke, falls into the mainstream rock formula too many times), but at times, Come Again is brilliant. Thanks to these guys, I got on the right track with music, and although I’ve since mostly grown out of them, they have the potential to make great music.
Highlights: Easy Comes, All Comes Out in the Wash, The Lies That I Believe.