In 2003, the band released its Island Records debut, The Artist in the Ambulance. The album's title is in reference to Burn Collector by Al Burian and is meant to reflect the band's desire to do more than make music and contribute to society through their charitable donations. A portion of the album's proceeds were this time donated to the Syrentha Savio Endowment, a financial aid organization for breast cancer patients. First pressings of the album were packaged in a digipak-style case with postcards containing lyrics and notes from the band.
The album spawned two singles, "All That's Left" and "Stare at the Sun." Both songs, and their accompanying videos, received modest airplay and the band found themselves playing at larger venues as the year progressed. A co-headlining fall tour with labelmates Thursday and opener Coheed and Cambria sold out across the United States, as well as a stint on the Honda Civic Tour with Dashboard Confessional, The Get Up Kids, and Hot Water Music.
Throughout 2004, the band continued to tour in support of The Artist in the Ambulance. Island Records issued a promotional disc (that features an alternate version of "The Artist in the Ambulance") in early 2004 that would become the basis for If We Could Only See Us Now, a CD/DVD package outlining the group's career. Named after a lyric from "So Strange I Remember You," the CD portion contained live tracks from a performance at the Apple Store and various B-sides. A slot to promote the CD/DVD came on the 2004 Vans Warped Tour.
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Not Bad| Posted October 09, 2014 Some general impressions:
Musically, I would have expected nothing less than showed here by Thrice. A for this genre absolut great bass player in combination with great drumming, dual guitar work on a high level, and good vocals. The singing got better on this one IMO, though it was not bad on the previous album for my likes. But the clean parts come over better, the screamed parts are on the same level as on the previous record. The only thing that could spoil the overall impression of the musical work is the simplified guitar work. Maybe simplified is not the right word, but what disapeared a bit here are the guitar leads that underlined and set the overall mood on 'The Illusion of Safety'. The guitars follow more ordinary patterns now, in a way.
A major thing I noticed is the general 'darker' mood of the record. Many passages of songs from 'The Illusion of Safety' marked something like a little sunrise in the overall feel of the album. On TAitA, the mood is much more melancholic. Don't think now you can await 'whiny emo lyrics' (like some would put it) though. The topics of the lyrics spread from social criticism ('Cold Cash and Colder Hearts' for example) to autobiographic material ('Stare at the Sun'). All on a high level IMO, with nteresting use of metaphors ('Melting point of Wax', for example, is using the picture of Icarus)
What was good:
Everytime I listen to this album, I'm suprised anew by the nice basslines. Use of octaves, unvonventional patterns, excellent fills. Good examples for that are 'Stare at the sun', 'The Melting point of wax' or the title track. The material is played very tight, and shows good energy. No real down points in the middle of the album. Nice is also the occasional use of strings etc in the background to set accents or underline certain moods. The end of 'The Abolition of Man' is absolute great speaking of guitar.
What was not so good:
But this is where the downsides kick in. More guitar work like on 'The Abolition of Man' would have been great. I really got the hang of it on 'The Illusion of Safety', and it is missed on some spots of the album. Apart from that, I have nothing more to 'mock' about.
If you'Re into this genre, 'The Artist in the Ambulance' is a album that won't leave many wishes open. I have this album since early 04, and it sneaks into my playlist again every now and then (as well as 'The Illusion of Safety'). This surely counts to one of my 'all time favorites' that gets played over and over again even after years.
The only let down is the somewhat drastic reduced lead guitar that was present on 'The Illusion of Safety'. Apart from that I would not know what could speak against this album (not counting personal preferences in). The musicianship is on a high level, the instrumental use as well as the lyrics. Still, I like the previous album just a tiny little bit better. So, in the end, I'll give out 4 stars.