Thrice has been a staple in the alternative-modern-rock world for nearly ten years now. With no real need for introduction, Thrice is known for effortlessly and continuously releasing groundbreaking records. Their eighth album Major/Minor is no exception. Major/Minor was tracked and produced by long-time friend and Vheissu mixer, Dave Schiffman at Redbull Studios in Los Angeles. Much like Beggars, Major/Minor was derived in large part by jam sessions and is quite literally the brain-child of all four band members. “We have four very different minds in our band. We all enjoy very different areas of music, and share a very similar center, notes bassist Eddie. “The songs on Major/Minor are essentially the four of us fighting back and forth to get them to our most centered place.” The resulting tracks are well worth the fight.
Major/Minor sheds light on a side of Thrice fans have yet to see. Comprised of eleven songs, the album possesses an analog warmth and organic landscape reminiscent of indie-music’s predecessor; one of the biggest music trends to come from the underground in the 1990’s. That’s right, grunge. “When we first showed the demos to Dave, the first thing he said was ‘You guys know you wrote a grunge record, right?,” laughs Teppei. “It’s really funny because it hadn’t really occurred to us. We just wrote what came naturally.” That’s not to say Major/Minor is leaps and bounds from its forerunners. Traces of Beggars, Vheissu, and every other Thrice album are seamlessly laced between guitar driven rock songs paying tribute to the bands we all knew and loved growing up. And the vocals? Well it wouldn’t be a Thrice album without Dustin Kensrue’s thought provoking words spread over the sonic terrain of each song.
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Pretty Good| Posted October 09, 2014
In a way it's only natural to want and expect some sort of sonic evolution in a new Thrice album, but if one looks at their output as a whole, the differences between each of their seven albums aren't the giant experimental steps that so often get mentioned when describing the middle of their discography. Instead it's more of a different approach and refinement of what came before. Vheissu had its roots in the slick production and dark mood of The Artist in the Ambulance, The Alchemy Indexes expounded on flushing out the possibilities opened up by Vheissu, and Beggars owed its soul to the second volume of the Alchemy Indexes. That same trend continues on Major/Minor. At its core, the sound is unmistakably Thrice. Major/Minor sees Thrice responding to aching minimalist undertones of Beggars, as musically it is very similar to its predecessor, but where Beggars was at its strongest at its most secluded moments, Major/Minor is an extroverted experience. They are no longer searching inward but projecting outward, like a light leading back from the darkness that ended Beggars.
Leading the charge is Dustin Kensrue. Since finding the beauty in the softer side of his voice during the recording of Vheissu, Thrice lost a little bit of the commanding presence that so defined their earlier work, but on Major/Minor he has rekindled a little bit of the power that came with his distinctive rasp which, in turn, makes for his most impassioned vocal performance since The Artist in the Ambulance. That doesn't mean that he's back bullying the microphone, though. He cleverly and precisely balances his two halves, with songs like the distraught and pleading “Words in the Water” making the best of his later era refinements. The rest of the band step up to the challenge as musically they breathe new life in the the heavy blues groove that was found on Beggars, not only thickening its sound but making it more vibrant by focusing just as much on melody as on atmosphere. One only needs to look at Major/Minor's stand out track “Anthology”, which combines all the playful guitar work of songs like “Of Dust and Nations” and “The Artist in the Ambulance” with the more straightforward approach of the later half of their career, creating a song that truly lives up to its name. Furthermore, “Anthology” encapsulates Major/Minor as a whole as there are moments all throughout it that harken back to the best of Thrice's past.
Major/Minor is just another testament to Thrice's ability to do no wrong. It's no surprise, really. They are continuing to evolve and mature, all the while still being true to what made so many fall in love with them in the first place. What more could we ask for?