Over time, Thrice have evolved into one of the most prominent rock bands of the past couple decades. Their roots travel both wide and deep, starting at post-hardcore with The Illusion of Safety
, digging into alt-rock with Vheissu
, and eventually settling into a sweet spot with the atmospheric, experimental qualities of The Alchemy Index
. It wasn’t until 2009 that we saw Thrice begin to tie all of the loose ends together. Beggars
was at times the embodiment of the Water EP, and in other instances it harkened back to the raw, honest sound of The Artist In The Ambulance
. While Beggars
seemed to function as a resume of the band’s work to date, it lacked the darker edge that has always made Thrice such a balanced listen, from the instruments all the way down to the vocals and lyrics. That is where Major/Minor
steps in to complete Thrice’s evolution. A passionate commentary on the evils of humankind, Major/Minor
illustrates how apathy and deceit have infiltrated our social order and left behind a wasteland of abandoned hope and idealism.
In a way, it is a completely natural progression from Beggars
. Whereas that record delved into our problematic society from the perspective of a hopeful, “True progress means matching the world to the vision in our heads…we always change the vision instead”, Major/Minor
is more of a desperate plea. It is hard to imagine Thrice giving up on their search for truth, which dates all the way back to ‘Stare At the Sun’, but lines like “We are cowards and thieves, will we never turn to grieve the damage done"” and “Never see, never quake with rage at what we have become” suggest that they are on the brink. The songs on this album support that notion, constantly shifting their focus between the luster of a silver lining, “Then like one receiving sight, I beheld a brilliant light in the dark” and a cathartic feeling of fury directed at a world that has failed quite obviously, “Our hearts are - they’re so deceitful, sick and filled with lies that lead to death.” Major/Minor
is endowed with Kensrue’s brilliant writing, and once again the album as a whole benefits while the lyrics turn out to be an absolute triumph. Thrice chooses to gear their songs' meanings towards social and political commentary, and just as they did on Beggars
, each track makes for a listen that challenges our worldly perceptions and stimulates the intellectual mind.
Of course, Thrice supports their bold lyrical passages with completely solid musicianship. Major/Minor
carries darker undertones, which are brought to the surface by a heavier overall style. Moments that would have been filled with soft croons and acoustic passages on recent works are now characterized by coarse vocals, controlled/melodic screams, and sludgy, temperamental electric guitar riffs. The album never makes a full return to the intensity of Thrice’s youthful days, and there is nary a ‘Deadbolt’ present here, but Major/Minor
treads on at a consistent level that never sacrifices its fire at the wrong time. Perhaps it is yet another byproduct of Thrice’s ever-growing wisdom, but this is a record that knows when to amp up its sound, when to slow it down, when to balance tempos, and when to fill a void with plain silence. The band’s ability to prove their vitality without sacrificing a single aspect of maturity is nothing short of admirable, and it is just another reason why Major/Minor
is able to grow and progress within itself for almost a full hour.
might best be described by American author Marilyn Ferguson’s famous quote, “Your past is not your potential…In any hour you can choose to liberate the future.” For decades now, Thrice have continued to climb to unprecedented heights. It seems like every album is a new pinnacle full of experimentation and artistic worth, waiting to be discovered and interpreted by listeners. Vheissu
may still be the measuring stick, but that doesn’t mean that each subsequent release doesn’t have something equally important to say. Major/Minor
is no different in that sense, cementing Thrice as the model of consistency in alternative rock. But even in its remarkable steadiness, the band’s discography continues to surprise us with every addition it makes. It’s the same old Thrice that continues to give us something truly
new which, in today’s era, is a gift that will never die.