AIR AND EARTH COMPLETE THE SET
Posted September 29, 2008
Concept records are by nature a tricky business—requiring a subject matter vast and challenging enough to get the creative juices flowing, and yet something that lends itself to manageable musical interpretation. By focusing on the four essential elements in The Alchemy Index (Vols. I & II dealt with Fire and Water), post-modern rockers Thrice have sought to match their musical approach to that which they want to explore.
Thus, Fire rocked with ferocious intensity, and Water bubbled with digital fluidity. Here, in the two EP length six-song discs that finish the series, Thrice lets Air float and drift on lofty melodies, while Earth takes a darker, wooden acoustic turn. But concepts can bind as much as inspire, and Vol. IV especially lacks the higher energy level and intensity that worked to give the previous sets a greater weight.
In Air, lyricist singer Dustin Kensrue continues to grasp at spiritual concepts while grappling with the current fixation on terror. “Broken Lungs” chronicles the debilitating illness that follow World Trade Center workers in the aftermath of 9/11, while “The Sky Is Falling,” a musical high point, reveals the struggle to not be ruled by one’s fears. “Daedalus” addresses the Icarus story from Greek mythology and the dangers of flying too close to the sun.
The folky blues leanings of Earth sound the closest to Kensrue’s solo record and faith witness, Please Come Home. “Moving Mountains” rewrites 1 Corinthians 13 as a confession that, “I don’t know the first thing about love.” “Come All You Weary” finds the singer offering the invitation of Jesus to those burdened and hungry to a welcome table of friendly communion. “Digging My Own Grave” and “Child of Dust” are drawn to the final resting place of our bodies, while our souls long to be set free. –Brian Quincy Newcomb
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