Thrice - Beggars
Thrice return with what seems to be an album that marks yet another creative milestone. This, their seventh studio album, starts where 2005's Vhiessu and 2008's The Alchemy Index left off, continuing to be progessively accessible to new fans whilst also successfully re-ineventing their vision and scope.
While many fans yearn for a return to the complex time signatures of The Illusion Of Safety and the mainstream breakthrough of The Artist In The Ambulance, it is pertinent to ask 'Why?' Both records helped to cement Thrice as an up-and-coming band garnering mainstream success - albeit a slight one - but on Beggars they instead continue to mature and showcase a sensitivity and depth that they experimented with on previous releases.
Beggars successfully highlights each member's strengths and qualities and what they are each capable of bringing to the band. It is a more finely-tuned record than earlier efforts. Guitarist Teppei Teranishi handles production duties on the album, helping to contribute an intimate sound that is also more raw and visceral.
The album opens with lead single 'All The World Is Mad'. Starting with a grumbling bassline and trudging riff, Dustin Kensrue's vocals stab over the top of the track and as he sings the chorus the track comes into fruition: 'Something's gone terribly wrong / All the world is mad'. As the record continues you begin to notice that with Thrice's ever changing style, Kensrue's ability to write lyrics to suit any mood of music is flawless. As a storyteller he has matured, which is evident on such tracks as the engrossing 'Wood & Wire', slowly growling ''14 years behind these bars / 12 foot square of cold cement / I've lost nearly everything / For the crime of which I'm innocent'.
As musicians and friends that have grown together, Thrice continue an intuitiveness with one another that can only be gained through years of playing. The jazz-led piano of 'Circles' showcases another side to Teranishi and this track, with its melancholy feel, would not have been out of place on a Radiohead record. Throughout this record there is an underlying groove and beat, provided by Eddie and Riley Breckenridge, demonstrating as brothers that they can work well together as professional peers.
The record finishes with the manic, pulsating riff of 'Talking Through Glass' which segues into the acoustic coda of 'We Move Like Swing Sets'. Finally with 'Beggars', Dustin Kensrue sings, 'There's one thing I know in this life: We are beggars all'.
Though Thrice may never attain the status of their peers, this record illustrates how a band can maintain interest and pursue every avenue open to them without compromising themselves as musicians. It would have been easy for them at one point in their career to go down the path which so many bands have fallen into and make The Illusion Of Safety: Part II, but they haven't. With Beggars, what we have is not a band at the beginning, but a band continuing on a journey and one that you will want to follow along the way and revisit many times.