Dustin Kensrue
Carry the Fire


4.0
excellent

Review

by Dan H. EMERITUS
April 22nd, 2015 | 73 replies


Release Date: 04/21/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Thrice frontman chooses a different target to serenade.

The career an artist pursues when they take a break from music can offer a unique insight into the man behind the band. Some dive into something extreme or unpredictable, like Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth who worked as a paramedic for years before rejoining the band in 2007, or legendary Queen Guitarist Brian May who completed his astrophysics thesis 37 years after he first started it. Following Thrice’s hiatus in 2012 Dustin Kensrue did something altogether less surprising, and became a pastor at his local church. The religious undertones in Kensrue’s lyrics progressed in tandem with Thrice’s career, and they slowly began to cross the line from subtle to scriptural, perhaps most obviously in Vheissu’s ‘For Miles,’ which borrows; “and there’s no greater love, than that one shed his blood for his friends” almost directly from John. 2012’s The Water and the Blood was the culmination of Dustin’s piety, and it was a worship album which was uncompromising in its devotion. While it was a highly predictable, perfectly natural step for the now former pastor to take, it still left fans yearning for a true follow up to his folk and blues influenced debut Please Come Home. Eight years and dozens of scrapped songs later, is Carry the Fire the follow up we’ve been waiting for"

In a manner of speaking, yes. Whilst Carry the Fire is undoubtedly more similar to his debut than to The Water and the Blood or his Christmas album, it is still a departure from the Americana inspired Please Come Home. Kensrue has wisely dropped the divisive twang which he forced on his vocal chords and the instrumentation has been toned down too, but he does still borrow plenty from both blues and folk. The result is a sound which is both familiar and pleasing. In adopting a straight forward approach, the music sounds perfectly at ease with itself, just take “Of Crows and Crowns” and “There’s Something Dark.” The low key pairing wouldn’t have sounded remotely out of place on either Beggars or The Alchemy Index’s Earth disk, and Kensrue’s recognizable brooding tone carries both songs from start to finish.

Carry the Fire feels, above all else, like an open love letter to his long term partner. He’s touched upon the difficulties that come with love and long term relationships before, but where he castigated people for being unable to handle love’s tribulations on “The Weight,” here he chooses to celebrate love and its longevity instead. Kensrue gives himself a deserved pat on the back for not taking flight when his relationship was stormy with no end in sight, and he presents himself as the poster boy for the cliché that nothing worth having comes easy. Opener “Ruby” and “Juggernaut” both see Kensrue proclaim his love from the rooftops, but the sincerity of his delivery ensures that the message received is neither cringe worthy nor trite. They bounce along powered by jovial major chords and infectious choruses, and the vocal hooks deliver direct proclamations straight from the heart; “You’re all that I need, for now and forever” and “Girl I’m a juggernaut, and I’ll never stop loving you.” If you find pleasure in dissecting an artist’s lyrics then you’re going to find little to satiate your thirst, but if you’re content to roll along with the upbeat rhythms instead, then Carry the Fire will reward you.

Third track ‘Gallows’ claims the title of best in show with its bombastic riff and pounding drums, sounding every inch a song which was born around the time of Major/Minor. With a Thrice reunion all but confirmed sometime in 2015, it’s encouraging to see Dustin Kensrue in such fine fettle. While his split from Mars Hill Church could have left him embittered it’s left him empowered instead; his approach to music hasn’t changed and nor have the positive messages within - he’s just chosen a new target for his affections.




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user ratings (88)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
VheissuCrisis
Emeritus
April 22nd 2015


1384 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I bet nobody saw this review coming.





ProjectFreak
April 22nd 2015


3113 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

*reads previous comment*

*reads your username*

Oh.



Good review. Digging this, but I think Dustin is always better with a band around him. I liked his worship album way more than most in that sphere, though.

henryChinaski
April 22nd 2015


4107 Comments


I believe I've never listened to his solo stuff, maybe one or two songs which I don't remember. Back To Back is pretty good though. Will check this out. Nice write-up!

cryptside
April 22nd 2015


2397 Comments


Dan, nice work here. I can't wait to listen to this. I love this guy.

iswimfast
April 22nd 2015


1461 Comments


yea this feels like a thrice teaser more than anything else so far. solid but not anything crazy good.

Ending
April 22nd 2015


2178 Comments


Wasn't aware he had a solo project. Sounds pretty cool.

VheissuCrisis
Emeritus
April 22nd 2015


1384 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys. This is probably more of a 3.5 but a man needs to unleash his inner fanboy occasionally.

jmh886
April 22nd 2015


2157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Album is probably his best solo effort. Though the water and the blood is really good. There's something dark inside of me is incredible. Can't wait to see him live next week.

FitToSwing
April 22nd 2015


68 Comments


Dustin seems like such a genuine musician and person. The body of work he has crafted by himself and with Thrice is impressive. It's sort of amazing how even though Dustin was a member of a relatively controversial church organization his fans still respected and followed his music career. Now that Mars Hill Church has disbanded and Dustin is no longer a part of that organization it will be interesting to see what he contributes to Thrice if they write new material. Very much looking forward to listening to this later.

SowingSeason
Moderator
April 22nd 2015


28373 Comments


I listened to this and it sounded nice, but then I didn't remember anything about it afterwards. I'm a huge Thrice fan though, so I'll be giving this multiple tries. Nice write up.

Digging: Julia Holter - Aviary

TenSecondsToThink
April 22nd 2015


1762 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is not a grower

Digging: Saintseneca - Pillar of Na

TheSupernatural
April 23rd 2015


1741 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Thrice is my favorite band but Dustin's solo work is woefully below Thrice's standards. In comparison, the music feels completely watered down and his vocals simply aren't compelling enough for me to care. I miss the more metaphorically lyric writing, pre-Beggars.

ProjectFreak
April 23rd 2015


3113 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You say that, but his faith was pretty obvious on older albums too -- "Stand and Feel Your Worth," anyone?



I agree this feels a bit like watered-down Thrice, but that's still pretty good to me.

redrig
April 23rd 2015


127 Comments


boring religious stuff

SowingSeason
Moderator
April 23rd 2015


28373 Comments


yeah Thrice has always been pretty religious

if you dislike this it's probably due to the music, not Dustin's faith

redrig
April 23rd 2015


127 Comments


yeah you are right, i just wish Dustin would create more entertaining stuff with a wider variety in lyrics like he did in Thrice.

SowingSeason
Moderator
April 23rd 2015


28373 Comments


I'm not a huge fan of this album either, but then again I've only ever liked his work with Thrice

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
April 23rd 2015


6676 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

frontman*

VheissuCrisis
Emeritus
April 23rd 2015


1384 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was adamant it didn't have a space but word kept shouting at me. I'll ignore it in future.

Hopelust
April 23rd 2015


3222 Comments


Sorry–– Dustin Kensrue became a pastor?

Digging: Sparta - Wiretap Scars



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