Album Review: Thrice – Beggars

Thrice began as a band with little grandeur or focused style, a band in an Identity Crisis. Quick, distorted guitar riffs and the screams of Dustin Kensrue filled small clubs around the United States, and fans filled small bars to hear the hardcore staples “Deadbolt“ and “A Subtle Dagger.”

However, with the release of their fourth album, Vheissu , the band saw a heavy change in style. This would cause a near-riot of Thrice fans, who felt as though they were losing the Southern California act they loved so dearly. With the heavy inclusion of more electronically-produced beats, keyboard parts, and sing-along style anthems, the band had found a new sound that was more in line with Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief, and much less in line with hardcore bands such as Glassjaw and Chiodos.

The band would soon embark on an even larger and more epic collection of tunes known as The Alchemy Index. The four discs the band put out between 2007-2008 would find the group musically describing the four elements and would stretch the band’s melodic hardcore to its limits.

With new release Beggars, the band has done a much better job of combining the pop punk of The Artist in the Ambulance with the lyrically-improved songwriting of The Alchemy Index, not to mention the musical tricks the band has picked up along the way.

Songs like lead single “All the World is Mad” and “Talk Through Glass” are the heaviest you will find musically on the album. Bassist Eddie Breckenridge and drummer Riley Breckenridge carry the tracks, while Kensrue and guitarist Teppei Teranishi deliver wonderfully executed pieces of the puzzle. This style doesn’t push anything the band has done in the past, but it certainly doesn’t do anything to degrade the mountain the band has built, either.

Thrice finds the true sweet spot here with slower tracks like “Circles” and “Wood and Wire”. Both feature a style that stays consistent for most of the song before eventually building to a crescendo that could have allowed for the songs to be extended, but instead only leads to the next track. On “Circles”, Kensrue speaks of setting “sail with no fixed star in sight” and “driving by Braille in candlelight”; however, the band sounds as tight and focused here as anywhere else on Beggars.

“Circles” goes into the strongest and catchiest track on the disc, “Doublespeak”, which stands alone here with no other track being its musical equal. The keyboard heavy track is by no means light. The very dark sounds of the song match the words, with Kensrue begging, “Honey if you think you’ve seen a crime, won’t you look the other way?”

Though it doesn’t feel like the band has made the type of leap that’s occurred on previous albums, where exactly is there to go after a fire, water, earth, and wind double-album release? When you have an answer, be sure to mail ’em. In light of that, Thrice has found a great middle ground that serves them well, and one that’s kept them relevant without losing the ability to create what they desire.

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