Review Summary: lol Kensrue was at a Brand New show in Seattle with guitarist Teppei Teranishi when he realized he wanted to get Thrice back together
A few months ago, I wrote a goofy fanboy review about the "reunion" album for one of my childhood favorites. I wrote some about what that band’s six year hiatus felt like from my perspective, but the ultimate outcome of the review was that things went as expected. I loved the album because everything about it was filtered through nostalgia so intense that whatever I wrote probably shouldn’t be considered a review. That record was going to score points not by being inventive or interesting, but by hitting me where my feelings live. By making my soul smile.
It’s been about five years since Thrice
, a major and minor masterpiece in itself, serving as the perfect goodbye album for fans to grasp tightly as the band announced that a hiatus would follow its Farewell Tour
. It closed a circle; the cut of Thrice’s goodbye felt surgical-- almost considerate for fans to have such a neatly-packaged and benevolent sign-off (especially considering how ugly band breakups can get). Strangely enough for me, I feel like Thrice’s absence could have been tougher than it was. . . Hell, I think I could have even held out a little longer.
What I mean to convey is that To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere
, does not need to be filtered through feelings recaptured. There is familiarity here, but nothing feels routine. This is an album as cohesive and thunderous as it would have been if it had come out in 2014.
In a manner that suits the song’s title, "Hurricane" becomes a Thrice song at the :17 second mark, functioning as an immediate and powerful announcement of the band's return. The guitars envelop everything except the greeting of vocalist Dustin Kensrue’s continuously evolving blues-rock sensibility. Kenrsrue, for that matter, remains every bit the storyteller he has always been, spinning lyrical metaphor after metaphor with a charge in his voice that I don’t know that I’ve heard since the relevant parts of the Alchemy Index
. So much of what I consider to be enduring about Thrice’s music, (both live and on the records), comes from the band’s ability to pepper beautiful melodic moments within its very powerful rock sound. Across "Black Honey," one of the strongest songs on the album, Kensrue stomps out and massages the same words with completely different deliveries and within completely different musical contexts. He remains a master the dynamic, turning the energy up and down so that even the more tame lyrical offerings, like "Wake Up," for example, are carried by the visceral interplay between his vocals and the deafening guitars.
As the foregoing may suggest, the key to this album's effectiveness extends beyond vocals and delivery. Everybody sounds great here, with a particularly forceful energy from Riley Breckenridge’s drums every bit as critical to the dynamic ups and downs as Kensrue’s vocal delivery. In the same way that the vastness of the guitars take center stage on "Hurricane" and "Blood on the Sand," the drums on "Whistleblower" drive that song from start to finish. Ditto for the bass on "The Window." Again, these are all remarkably cohesive offerings (and polished af), but "Death From Above" is probably the best example of where it all comes together on TBEITN
. It’s got the energy, the melody, and the clarity. ("The Long Defeat," a close runner-up).
Perhaps more overwhelmingly the case for Thrice than for other bands, the essence of TBEITN
resides in its moments
-- where you find a song’s bridge or a time signature shift or some other (usually) transitional moment that really hits. And with the wind pulled from your diaphragm, as your brain and body struggle to restore equilibrium, your soul just smiles.