The praise and allure surrounding the seventh studio album from Thrice is one that I initially didn’t fully grasp at my first listen, nearly ten years ago to the day. Maybe I was in a bad mood that day or was distracted during my listening experience, because as I revisit Beggars now, I can’t fathom how I would have felt anything but pure astonishment and wide-eyed wonder at this pre-hiatus masterpiece by the California rockers. Beggars was released digitally a full month before the physical release date of September 15th, 2009, which gave eager fans a chance to absorb the new sounds from Thrice before rushing out to their local record store the month after. From songs as immediately gratifying as “All the World is Mad” to the progressive-rock elements of “Circles,” Beggars had a little bit of everything from all phases of Thrice’s expansive discography. The self-produced record (with a specific and well-deserved credit to lead guitarist Teppei Teranishi) is a wonderful snapshot of what the band was capable of making when firing on all cylinders.
A look back at this record brings back many emotions for me from hearing these songs live as recently as their spring tour, and now that I have the foresight of seeing where Thrice would eventually take their sound, one can’t help but praise this album as being one of their best.
It definitely tests your mettle. I think the biggest thing is, the things you learn from being in band are, well, problem solving is close to the top of that list. What are you going to do if you’re stranded in Germany? What are you going to do when your battery dies on the van and you’re in the middle of the West Texas desert and you have to get to the show the next day? I think without times like that you don’t learn those lessons and you break down. But we just kind of leaned on each other a little bit and said ok let’s fucking figure it out. We can either quit or figure it out.
“Are you ready for my soul?/What if I’m broken from the start?/And what if I never heal?” lead vocalist Dustin Kensrue, of Thrice, sings on the sixth song on Palms. This outpouring of emotion is what we have come to expect from Thrice over the years, but the honesty and earnestness of Kensrue’s delivery feels different with this great album. Thrice have a back catalog of albums that most artists would be envious of, and on their ninth studio album, they could have gone in any number of directions. The most important course for Thrice has always been forward, as they have improved upon their unique brand of rock as they continue to evolve as artists.
“I’m actually working on a record with my brother while we’re on tour in the fall. We’ve been working on it at random times here and there, but it’ll be different from my solo stuff or Thrice. More indie-pop or electronic.”
This first impression was originally posted as a live blog for supporters in our forums on July 19th, 2018. First impressions are meant to be quick, fun, initial impressions on an album or release as I listen to it for the first time. It’s a running commentary written while listening to an album — not a review. More like a diary of thoughts. This post has been lightly edited for structure and flow.
This new album from Thrice is a tricky one to pin down. I’ve spent the last week trying to figure out the best way to put into words what I think about it and, specifically, what it sounds like. I think going broadly I would describe the album has having a nice groove to it. A groove that reminds me most of Beggars, and one that doesn’t wholly eschew the rock sound they had on their last album, but instead leans into many aspects of that sound in new ways.