Review Summary: The Thermals play The Thermals
Power-pop has been in a slump as of late. With Weezer basically turning to crap halfway through Maladroit
a decade ago and Green Day deciding that they would rather ride a wave of shi
tty faux-political Bush era malaise in this now Obamafied landscape, there's no one left in the mainstream doing it justice, but for the last decade Washington state's The Thermals have been picking up the slack and soldiering on with their 4 chord wonders. The Thermals hit their stride with 2006's The Body, The Blood, The Machine
, a rock epic based on escaping a totalitarian Christian superstate, it struck a chord at a time when conservative hard-line Christian morals were perched in a seemingly unpopular but continual seat of power, steering the American political landscape. Their follow up Now We Can See
was not as viceral as its predecessor, but was no less enjoyable, especially as it was driven by the massive single of the same name.
With the release of their fifth full-length album The Thermals have settled into a sweet spot. Following in the same vein as Now We Can See
, Personal Life
continues to tone down the punkier elements that were prevalent in The Thermals earlier releases while upping the sugary sweet pop hooks that gave their greatest songs the ability to bore themselves into your brain and stay there for weeks on end. Unfortunately this also leads to a percieved lack of energy. When it comes to the incredibly simplistic approach that The Thermals take, what made them stick out so much was the seemingly reckless abandon in which they belted their songs out, and now with so much of Personal Life
drifting in a mid-tempo limbo, it can't help but drag in spots when it's begging to soar. There are still plenty of moments on Personal Life
that stack up to songs like "Here's Your Future" and "Pillar of Salt", such as the uproarious "I Don't Believe You" and the trademark "whoa oh ohhhsss" of "Your Love Is So Strong", but in the end that carefree, fun loving spirit doesn't always carry over as expected for a Thermals album.
is nothing new for the Thermals, but that doesn't mean that it's nothing to write home about. It still packs enough of a punch to please the most diehard of fans, and its best moments are more than enough to convert the uninitiated, but overall The Thermals have done better. _