‘Everything is everything’. That’s a quote from the character Poet on the HBO show, Oz. Now, while I’m certain his intended definition behind that quote was far different, one could perceive it as eluding to the age-old adage that everything in this world is connected on some level. Case in point; the Butterfly Effect…a hurricane on a costal shoreline begun with the simple flap of a butterfly’s wings on the other side of the world. The list of thoughts and theories on these sorts of matters is perplexingly infinite yet all lead to the same end, and quite frankly, it is all astoundingly baffling. A person’s words or actions leads to a never-ending line of cause and effect, and no one moment or situation is not affected by another. As I write this, the birth of a child comes to mind. Two loving and caring individuals made the choice to create a living, breathing being and bring them into this world. As that child grows into an adult, they too create a multitude of aftershocks that vibrate throughout the ether, changing and altering the paths of others along the way. It’s a wonderous and beautiful notion, truly. That is what, in a nutshell, the new Thrice album, Horizons / East is all about. This album found the band on new fronts of innovation in the way in which they approached and produced their music. Created in their own built studio, Thrice delved deep, not knowing what the outcome might be. The band designed and acted upon self-created challenges, one of which would lay the groundwork for what would become “Northern Lights”. Pairing both their love of jazz music (utilizing the quartal chord) and the Fibonacci Sequence to create a guitar riff (…I mean WHO thinks of something like this??!!). This (among so many other attributes of this album) brings to mind the way I have always described this band; expect the unexpected. Thrice is a band that is always striving to reinvent themselves, while remaining true to the core of what has always made them, them. Far from what anyone could consider ‘cookie-cutter’, hearing one Thrice album does not mean you’ve heard them all, and once again the band has pushed the boundaries of what some might consider ‘ordinary’ or ‘the norm’ On the most recent single, “Summer Set Fire to the Rain”, vocalist Dustin Kensrue brings to mind moments akin to being caught in a sun-shower. The way in which the rays can reflect and glimmer of the droplets of water, and if we take the time to notice such an occurrence it truly is a stunning thing. Yet so many of us are lost to this way of thinking, and merely are concerned with getting drenched while running for cover from the storms above. It’s these sorts of insightful musings that Thrice manifest through their music to bring the listeners a rarified art that not only tantalizes the senses but instills a deep sense of both inner and outer reflection.
Genre: Alternative Rock | Rock | Progressive Rock
FLOW / LONGEVITY / ORIGINALITY
This album had a particular ebb and flow to it that felt different than past Thrice albums. A constant (albeit subtle) rollercoaster, going up in down in both tempo and lyrical severity. Album opener, “Color of the Sky”, is a synth driven slow burn in its openings, which is kicked up a notch once the rolling drums from Riley Breckenridge make their debut. “Scavengers”, “Buried in the Sun” and “Summer Set Fire to the Rain” are more along the lines of the classic Thrice with their grungy, alternative rock feel. Whereas on a song like “Still Life” I was almost reminded of “Come All You Weary” with it’s slowed-down, jazz like feel to the instrumentals. The album plays almost this game of cat and mouse with what you’re attempting to expect from one track to the next, yet instead of creating a hiccupping affect, it actually peaks the listener’s interest in a white-knuckled manner and only adds to the overall listening experience.
In all honesty I’m quite biased when it comes to Thrice. They have been my favorite band for years now, and I will oftentimes find myself digging deep into their back catalogue when searching for the music that just hits the spot each and every time. It’s the bands all encompassing artform that grabs me like not many other musical acts can. But in an attempt to remain as neutral as possible, I’ve held back on my obsessions for how Thrice’s music touches my soul. In saying that though, I still have zero doubts that Horizons / East won’t be perhaps the first album in a while for some to have stronger stay-power. This album has glimmers of Thrice of ol’. Some songs hit a bit heavier sonically, while the album as a whole is potentially more varied than what I’ve heard some say about the two albums before (silly people must be deaf). But as I’ve said in one manner or another, your favorite songs that you play in your car today will have just as much of an impact, years down the road while you sit on the stoop of your own front porch.
When thinking about the originality of Horizons / East, I will bring you back to an interesting fact I dropped on you earlier. “Northern Lights” has a guitar riff in its verses which sprouted from a combination of quartal chords and the Fibonacci Sequence…mic drop…? While that is something truly awe inspiring in its vastly intelligent creativity, what makes this album so original in my mind, goes much further than that. It’s the mashing of genres and stylings. While at their core they’re all rooted in alternative or rock music, it is the way in which Thrice seamlessly interweave them to create something so much greater. It’s the fact that while the album does have an overlying theme of interrelatedness, each song still has its own particular subject matter. A band like Thrice will always reinvent what original means to them, in turn making them one of the most original acts out there these days.
This video has been identified by Epilepsy Action to potentially trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. Viewer discretion is advised.”Scav…
VOCALS / INSTRUMENTATION
Dustin Kensrue has a way of producing the smokiest and gravely of tones, yet on the flipside can croon and hum as soft as the breeze. He emits a jaw dropping level of emotion with every word, that is scarcely felt from other vocalists, bringing that much more attention to the messages he wishes to convey. The mental picture brought forth during the verses and choruses of the rain shimmering in the sun is swiftly torched by the intensity of his almost-screams during the parting words of the song. On “Dandelion Wine” we hear Kensrue sing in hushed tones during the opening verse, lulling the listener with an almost lullaby-like calmness. Almost to reflect the sense one would get in cold in wintery surroundings. Yet, during the choruses his resonance warms up with the sense that the ice is melting away. “The Dreamer” finds Kensrue delivering a spoken word/chant harkening the listener’s ears to perk in a sudden all-focused attention to the fact that no matter what anyone tells you, you can always find your own deeper meaning in any so-called ‘truth’ that one’s attempting to force-feed your heart and soul. It’s the range of both sounds and emotions that ooze from the voice of Kensrue that always has been and always will be so deeply touching.
For some time now, Thrice have developed a knack for making the most subtle nuances and simplistic stylings of their instrumentals sound so much more complex and rich than what the listener might initially hear. If they truly attune their sense of hearing to all of the textures and layers of any given song, they’ll find there’s so much more than meets the ear ( 😉 ). This is no different on Horizons / East. From the hauntingly beautiful and cascading piano on “Unitive/East” that for me brought to mind that scene in the Jim Henson classic, Labyrinth, towards the end when Sarah defeats the Goblin King and all that surrounds here seems to shatter into a million little pieces of glass reflecting all she had done and accomplished in the way and she falls down to the beautiful reality in which she has lived all along. I know, that’s a drawn out and odd metaphor, and yet to me it’s so fitting. When you find what definitively brings you peace and harmony, all that was once black is brought to light. Perhaps it’s the electronic beats and tones and odd 7/8 time signature that has everyone comparing “Robot Soft Exorcism” to the Kid A era of Radiohead (and I hate to be yet another reviewer who’s probably even simply and briefly spoke about it, even without using the comparison), yet what I hear through the pairing of those electronic flourishes and your more standard instruments (and with the accompanying words) is a band who’s trying to wake the world from their mechanized lifestyles to see there’s a much larger world out there, that is in dire need of our love and attention. Aside from what has already been said about “Northern Lights” with its math equation inspired riffing and jazzy beats, they all amalgamate to create an almost tangible aurora right in the comfort of your own home. Inspiring us to actually create a better world, indeed.
COMPOSITION / PRODUCTION
It seems so infrequent these days that you hear an album where you can truly feel to your core that the artists have put literally everything they have into it. Horizons / East is one of those rarities that absolutely makes the listener appreciate every single facet of every single moment. From building their very own studio to challenging one another to tasks in the hopes of igniting the utmost creativity is both mind blowing and inspiring. When you truly listen to this album (and not just run through the songs) you get a phenomenal sense of the insane amount of sheer effort and ingenuity that went into creating each song. No stone was left unturned, ultimately resulting in an album that to say is well written would be grossly misrepresenting how amazing it really is.
Adding to the fact that Thrice is absolutely one of the most creative and ground breaking alternative rock bands of the last many years, Horizons / East was also self-produced. Who better could fine tune every single sound to exactly what your heart says it should be than the ones who created said sounds. The album is airy and spacey at times, while at others it’s grounded and earthy. As I said, no stone was left unturned, and the production value was a stone that was moved again and again, always in perfect placement.
“Summer Set Fire to the Rain” by @Thrice from the album ‘Horizons / East’, available September 17Pre-order at https://thrice.ffm.to/horizonseastVideo by Rob …
This is the first time I’ve ever had the opportunity and absolute pleasure of reviewing a Thrice album. As I previously stated, they have been my favorite band for years and it was with the Alchemy Index albums that I truly was snagged as a lifelong fan. To be able to witness a band such as Thrice who are ever evolving and always strive to create something that will break all molds is honestly an astonishing treat. How fitting that I was able to review the album that focuses on all things being interconnected. This album brings back nods to the Vheissu and Beggars era, while incorporating moments of To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere and Palms, while undoubtedly mixing in all new sonic soundscapes and ideas. Expect the unexpected should be the fan motto for Thrice, and with a sister album potentially on the way, one could only fathom what might be in store (of course only to have all previously conceived notions abolished in the best way possible), but for now relish the moments you have with this magnificent album. Because it is truly something special and whether you’re an old or new fan, you will have something to connect with, and something to pass onto others.