Review Summary: And after all of this, I am amazed that I am cursed far more than I am praised...
, Thrice’s elemental motif was beautifully actualized both musically and conceptually. Fire
blazed with a fury the band had never shown before and has never shown since while Water’s
representation of the element stands as one of the most creative and beautiful portrayals ever created. With Air
, the band doesn’t wield the theme like a hammer but instead employs it like a paintbrush, applying light touches throughout the music but never dabbing to heavily at any one point. Because of this, Air
never sounds airy
the way Fire
, but still presents as one of the most powerful indexes by way of Kensrue’s lyrics and the band’s minimalistic approach in instrumentation.
Thrice’s representation of air is comes off as an agent of death as well as a giver of life. “Broken Lungs” and “The Sky is Falling” both tell tales of horrible tragedies carried out via the sky. Namely the 9/11 attacks and the psychological fallout indiscriminate bombing on a foreign country’s people. These politically charged songs are the most energized on the album and begin a sort of recurring theme of political activism and moralistic themes found in Thrice’s future work. Where Air
really succeeds is the last three songs, which bring to light a secret theme hidden underneath the overt one, namely Dustin’s bringing of a child into the world for the first time. Kensrue’s apprehension is highlighted in no uncertain terms in “Daedalus” (a sister song to “The Melting Point of Wax”) which recounts the story of Icarus from his father’s point of view. “As the Crow Flies” sees the band at its most delicate and serves as a dual metaphor, that of raising a child, and that of creating music.
by its very nature, leaves a lot of room for interpretation compared to Fire
. With the exception of “Silver Wings”, the elemental theme is hidden beneath metaphor which consequently both helps and hurts the album. Sonically, the music is simply not as engaging as Fire
are but it seems Thrice was aiming for a more cerebral and conceptual approach with Air
. The subject is painted in here, it just takes a different way of thinking to uncover it.