Review Summary: Where all the children have a place to sleep...
Imagine being plucked from your room and placed in the middle of the ocean during sunset. On one hand, you have the fear which leads to hopelessness, the sheer vastness of the ocean immediately crushes any inkling you may have had of escape. All around you is nothing but water for miles
and it’s deadly quiet, you can’t even hear birds this far out. You have the fear of the unknown -- who knows what kind of creature is waiting for your arms to give out, for you to descend far enough into the sea to become just another meal for them. On the other hand if you listen closely it’s actually not that quiet, you can hear the roar of the ocean as it froths and crashes on itself ceaselessly. The water is tinted a beautiful magenta from the sunset’s red sky
and underneath you, living with those hungry creatures, is an entire world of life.
With the release of Thrice’s Alchemy Indexes, the band cemented their musical direction for the remainder of their duration but none of them captured the essence of the element it represented more than Volume II: Water
. Dustin Kensrue’s awakening to the beauty behind his singing voice during the recording of Vheissu may have set the tone for the band’s subsequent releases but intertwining with the airy, delicate ambiance set forth by the band here, he has never accomplished his goal so completely and utterly. Kensrue’s voice doesn’t soar as freely as the Air Index nor does he roar as savagely as he displays in the Fire Index but his wispy delivery fits so well with the music of Volume II: Water
his performance can easily be viewed as the superior offering of the lot. Even with Kensrue’s voice meshing with the music so well, it is the music that makes Volume II: Water
such a creative force. Thrice employs a generous helping of piano and ambient electronics to create layers of serene soundscapes that channel the isolative nature of the ocean in a variety of ways. “Digital Sea” is the most upbeat track of the EP and peppers a slight helping of glitch to achieve the desired mood. The instrumental track “Night Diving” accomplishes similar results but does so in a completely different fashion, by way of some slight distortion and reverb on guitar, creating some crash to juxtapose with the soft ambient passages. It really shows the state of mind the band was in during recording and their creativity matched their vision perfectly.
In a scant six songs, Thrice managed to encapsulate both the loneliness and the vitality of the ocean. Volume II: Water
may have a cold outer shell, but Thrice made sure the vibrancy of the ocean was also aptly represented through layers of sometimes twinkly and buoyant, sometimes serene and bleak ambiance. Thrice would go on to create two more great albums after The Alchemy Index but never has intent and execution gelled so smoothly and flawlessly as it did with Volume II, a beautifully real interpretation of water.