Review Summary: Thrice develops a trademark sound, and a good one at that.
With their fifth studio album, or sixth if you consider the collective body of The Alchemy Index
as a single entity, it is apparent that Thrice have not only found but also solidified a sound that they can call their own. 2005’s Vheissu
boasted a departure from post-hardcore into a unique realm of progressive songwriting and the previously mentioned four-disc set encompassing the elements ventured far into experimentation both instrumentally and conceptually alike. Now, Beggars
achieves the mark of a band that has truly come into their own by reviving a sound that is unmistakably Thrice while simultaneously presenting a set of tracks that sound of something both new and cohesive.
The temperament of the album itself is one unlike previous albums, the earlier of such being somewhat of an obvious contrast and the “Indexes
” being much too devoted to their own objectives to fairly compare. Where Beggars
will draw its similarities lie seemingly in its balance with Vheissu
, the foremost being in the presence of toned down, but very high quality songs. It is remarkable that a band formally keen on pulse-pounding tempos and heavy shredding has come to be at their most penetrating and powerful in these slower tracks.
Fans may recall the mellow keys in “Wood & Wire
” as being familiar to those of “Digital Sea
” from the Water
disc, but it is the disarming vocal harmony here that brings a tingle to the surface of skin. In fact, addressing the vocal aspect of the songwriting alone, Thrice has for some time been utilizing and now have perfected the art of weaving memorable, intimate lyrics into piercingly beautiful melodic lines and harmonic textures alike. Such is the case in the album’s title track where the silent, reflective anguish can clearly be felt, not simply heard, in vocalist Kensrue’s murmurings that “if there’s one thing I know in this life, we are beggars, all.
If there is to be a weak point to Beggars
’ construction, it may be found in the somewhat linear path the album walks. This is to say that, at least in comparison to previous works that have teetered on the very premise of pushing extremes back and forth; this one seems to lack the dynamic bookmarks your typical Thrice fan may be used to. The sheer ferocity of Kensrue’s cries is not quite as frequent here, and thundering riffs have been diminished in exchange for piano keys. Granted, this is probably only a matter of disposition, admittedly on my part as well, so it would be a stretch to describe Beggars
as boring or bland. The power in this record comes from its quiet, steady intensity that is ready at any point to unfold into something beautiful if not overwhelming, a quality seemingly definitive of Thrice.