Thrice – Major/Minor (Vagrant)

Different types of music affect different parts of the body, and Thrice’s eighth album opens with a dark, rolling riff on Yellow Belly that encourages the neck to move in an up and down motion that would be much enhanced by metre-long hair. This groove is at the heart of the album, and though the music plays the field from hard rock to indie pop to nu metal, it retains a kind of head-nodding irresistibility throughout.

Like many bands with a hard rock sensibility, Thrice have laboured over their lyrics and each song tells a story with a message. This is particularly successful on Promises, a song about the flaws inherent in marriage, where “we say on me you can depend, and I will be there till the end – but we will not bear the cross”. Though Thrice claim they’re not a Christian band, singer Dustin Kensrue’s lyrics are rife with Christian imagery, and the catchy Blinded could be read either as a curious kind of love song, or as the words of thanks from a sinner repenting before God.

The album is musically diverse, with punk moments on Blur, some quirky 90s Chili Pepper snippets on Cataracts, and no shortage of modern rock power ballads. Anthology is that curious kind of heavy rock song that seems to have been descended from Irish folk music. On Treading Paper the words and music are both a little dull, with the refrain “there must be so much more than we can see” repeated ad nauseum. Other songs verge perilously close to ‘whinge-core’, but with brothers Ed (bass) and Riley (drums) losing their father and guitarist Teppei Teranishi losing his mother prior to the album’s release, some sombre moments are to be expected, and Kensrue’s soulful voice can make the bleakest dirge seem somehow ethereal.

Major/Minor is a diverse, grown-up and mostly-interesting album with many hidden lyrical and musical treasures to uncover.

Kathryn van Beek

Click here to listen to Yellow Belly from Major/Minor