You know those annoying re-releases that contain a “remastered version” of an album released a year ago and maybe contain two or three new songs and a bonus DVD? Yes we all can relate in some way or another most likely, but fear not, as Thrice
has plenty more imagination than that. Now before deception becomes a factor let me state that If We Could Only See Us Now
is NOT a re-release of any sort. Rather it is a CD and DVD package that captures about six years of the band, from the formation of the band in high school all the way up to the creation of a mainstream successful post hardcore masterpiece in The Artist In The Ambulance
. There is a lot of stuff crammed into these two discs, but one of the most redeeming factors of his combo is the price. Things were priced extremely fairly as far as I am concerned, and the $13’s I spent to pick this up have been well worth it. Have you ever been curious about the early years of the group? Ever wonder how these unique four individuals came together? Just want a bit of new music and some killer live videos from the band? Well look no further, as this package is appealing to a wide range of Thrice
fans, as you can be merely a casual listener and enjoy this quite easily. Now I know what you are thinking, if a normal listener of the band can find liking in this, what about a die hard fan? The answer is simple, die hard fans can form a circle and all cream their bands together.
I’ll split this up into two main topics, the CD and the DVD. So let’s start with the CD shall we. Upon checking out the back one will notice some new song titles. The CD kicks off with Eclipse
, a fairly straightforward song opening with the perfect amount of dissonance. The riff is quite to the point, as most of the instruments are here. Dustin’s voice seems to be the vocal point, and with good reason. His screams are intense at the beginning and his singing is beautiful throughout the chorus. Teppei’s lead over the chorus might seem little lower than on some of the group’s previous work, but all things considered it serves its purpose perfectly. At around the 2:20 mark, things slow down a little, providing a bit of a relaxing bridge. The vocals sung over the moderate riff provide quite the epic sounding outro and considering this is a B-Side, things sound pretty solid. The set standard is met once again, perhaps even topped with Motion Isn’t Meaning
. For a Thrice song, things are once again very straightforward but effective as things open with a nice sounding C chord riff. Riley really becomes a standout in this song, while his beats are fairly simple during the verse, the prechorus provides some timely rolls and things only pick up from there. He hits us with some sweet tom shuffles during the last section of the chorus, standing out in his own light while managing to not overpower the rest of the group. Lyric wise there is a lot of alliteration here; We pound a pattern out on the pavement, we sound a siren out through the streets
You might not have to dig as far deep to discover the message of the song as the chorus will show…
You tell me that you wanna stop the war
But baby you can't dance if there's no floor
Motion isn't meaning, it's just another drug
But it's all we've got
Nevertheless the lyrics are wonderfully written as usual. Easily the highlight of the song is the slight build up for the end as Dustin screams over the intro riff and some double time drums for a most welcome brutal outro.
At the blink of an eye the storm concludes itself as the sun peaks through the clouds. Yes the path indeed takes a detour from a spanking heavy song to a calm and peaceful acoustic section. Let’s just say they choose the absolute perfect songs to re-work in this section here. Stare At The Sun
is one of the most beautiful pieces of acoustic work I have heard and Dustin is accompanied by a lovely string section. The strings help to lock in a little bit of an epic atmosphere as his voice works flawlessly over it all. While all of the leads found in the album version found on TAITA are gone, there is no hole left open here as on this version their presence is not missed. Not saying one version is better than the other, but things are perfectly worked out on this one and this acoustic rendition is almost certain to grant all wishes. Cold Cash, Colder Hearts
and The Artist In The Ambulance
are both done live on acoustic, I believe in the Apple Store but I could be mistaken. Regardless of that, they both end up incredibly powerful. Both of these versions prove that Thrice
does not need to exercise the use of their trademark leads and screams to create powerful, stunning music. Dustin’s voice sounds beautiful on both of these tracks, and the harmonies sound superb. While some of Teppei’s leads are either taken out or a bit re-worked, they still fit the song and add a great deal of texture to the unique versions of both songs. It is also nice to have a bit of crowd noise in the back round, as the listener will notice they are still into the music and enjoying themselves. While on the subject of some older songs re-worked lets check out the final track [b]So Strange I Remember You[b/]. This one is a bit strange, as keyboard is very present here (keep in mind this is pre-Vhessiu) and things are way slowed down. To be perfectly honest, I find this version of the song a little boring. This was quite the experimental track, as often times the snyth and Dustin’s voice sound a little off. Moments of the song sound great like when he sings If we could only see us now
over a nice little riff things sound pretty grand.
Backtracking a little, Eleanor Rigby
sure is interesting. Thrice, Beatles, Beatles, Thrice who would have thought? Now I am not a Beatles fanatic and to be honest do not know this song very well (at least before I heard this version). The music and vocals sound great together, upbeat yet not blazing fast. I really dig the little guitar riffs in the back round as they are used in nice moderation. Also Riley has some very nifty rolls and switches patterns enough to keep boredom from setting in. Dustin has some serious falsetto going on here and nails it during the verse. When the instrumental bridge and outro comes one can’t help put to nod their head along as things sound perfectly crafted. For a cover, this one is quite enjoyable. Up next is Send Me An Angel
, and while many despise this one I find some very redeeming qualities to it. The rhythm section during the verse is the perfect ground for Teppei to work a riff over and another lead comes out during the chorus. While not mind blowing and incredibly technical, the guitar work fits the song very well. Riley shines during the choruses with his nicely worked out fills. Than a moment comes which is a bit over due, after a brief harmonized bridge a solo comes out. It is one of those solos you think the guitarist wrote first and than the band wrote the rest of the song. Probably not, but it fits the song darn well despite not being extremely long in length. While a on the poppy side, Send Me An Angel
is a very enjoyable track. So of course something heavy will follow as That Hideous Strength
opens with a very breakdown reminiscent intro. Some spurts of double bass are heard now and than as Dustin unleashes some brutal screams. While on the heavy side, I can see why this track was a B-Side. For Thrice it is remarkably simple and plenty of times it just sounds too much in terms of the breakdowns. I never thought I would say that, but unfortunately those factors make this song a little on the forgettable side. However, Teppei’s lead during the outro is pretty well done as the tapping lick marks the highlight of the song. Not bad, just Thrice is capable of much more. While the last two tracks on the CD portion are a bit on the weak and funky side respectively, the disk ends up great for what the band wanted to accomplish. Between the powerful new songs, re-working some classics acoustically, and doing a wonderful Beatles cover there is quite a lot to enjoy on the CD half here.
Now the DVD will be a bit easier (and shorter) to describe. Let me warn you I will be a little brief here as I do not want to ruin some things. The main portion of the DVD is the story behind Thrice, how they met, their first few shows, and all the good stuff in the beginning. The DVD ends after some touring following The Artist In The Ambulance
. Things are quite interesting, as the band’s story is a good one. It also is nice to meet the people they work with, as they all seem incredible nice, friendly and devoted. We all know Thrice’s music is not to be taken as a joke, but off stage the band is downright hilarious. They always keep things entertaining while on tour, in the studio, and just hanging out with each other. One is almost guaranteed a laugh or two during the documentary portion here. One IS guaranteed at least three laughs during the outtakes, which nearly make me pee myself every time I watch them. Also on the DVD is some live songs. The list is just awesome, as they have both Phoenix Ignition and T & C here from their first House of Blues show I believe. Also contained are the classics one would expect such as Deadbolt, Cold Cash and Colder Hearts, Under A Killing Moon
, and much to my delight The Abolition of Man
. For those who have never witnessed the craziness known as live Thrice, it is a mix of brutal pits, epic moments, and an overall energetic stage show from the band. This is a great section to put on the DVD under the bonus section, as the songs sound really great live and are a blast to watch. Of course some music videos are on the DVD as well, so you really do get a DVD loaded with a great story and stuffed to the top with bonus material. This might be a little fanboyish sounding, but this DVD would be quite the buy alone.
So of course that means that if you dig some of the band’s work, you ought to pick up this package. It is very reasonably priced and if you have not noticed by now it contains a crap load of stuff. New Thrice, re-worked songs, their story as told by the band and crew, live music, hilarious outtakes, and some music videos all make this package enjoyable. For a casual listener of the band, I would say if you already own The Illusion of Safety
and The Artist in the Ambulance
and like both of them, this would be a perfect addition to your collection. For fans of soly Vhessiu
you might want to hold on to your money, as this is a trip into the band’s past as opposed to the new path they have traveled onto in present time. And of course if you are in love with the band and have not picked this up you must either be broke or completely insane (regardless of the case I pity thee fellow Thrice lover as you are missing out). With so much to offer and a reasonable price, If We Could Only See Us Now
is quite the quality release from the Orange County group which deserves a nice spot in both your DVD and CD player.
Final Rating: 4/5