Original Release / Vagrant Records / VR685 / Vinyl » MP3 / 320
# Audio CD / Vinyl LP
# Store Date: September 20, 2011
# Number of Discs: 1
# Label: Vagrant Records
With 'Major/Minor', Thrice refines and perfects a sound culminating from 13 years of experience, creativity, experimentation and wisdom. No detail from the history of Thrice goes without influencing some aspect of the sound here, with traits from all across their discography making the record.
'Beggars' is here, and should be the first influence you notice. As vocalist/guitarist Dustin Kensrue mentioned in an interview earlier this year, “the next record will have the least jarring change that we have had between records for a long time.” It’s an accurate self-assessment; the 2009 album is the closest structurally to what is presented on 'Major/Minor', since the band continues to experiment within a more modern rock setting. Songs like straightforward, riff-heavy rockers “Blur” and “Blinded” wouldn’t have been possible had Kensrue and guitarist Teppei Teranishi not gone for a classic rawness on 'Beggars'. A new focus on groove adds a life you didn’t realize was missing from their last album, even making that record sound hollow in comparison to newer tracks like “Cataracts.” Kensrue attacks each aforementioned song with more aggression than we’ve seen in awhile, all effortlessly in a way few vocalists could replicate.
'The Alchemy Index' is here, and each volume takes its turn appearing throughout 'Major/Minor'. No riff had taken the space or demanded the attention of “Firebreather” until “Yellow Belly” was released. The anthemic energy and presence from “Anthology” and “11 Disarmed” owe gratitude to the choruses on 'Vol. II: Water‘ and “Broken Lungs” from 'Vol. III: Air'; Thrice took the epicness there and multiplied it exponentially through perfect, swelling builds. Even 'Vol. IV: Earth' (or maybe Kensrue’s solo 'Please Come Home') weighs in on things via the vocal melody to album-standout “Treading Paper” (note the rarely used Kensrue falsetto appearance).
'Vheissu' is here, though it’s mostly in their shared reverence and wonderment. Like that record, this one has a grandeur feel, imparting its monumental importance and making other music seem pale in comparison. A full-listen to Major/Minor can only end with pure awe, the way many felt about 'Vheissu'. The difference is the former’s perfection was a surprising leap; the new album’s excellence is in spite of absurdly high expectations from a hard-to-please crowd. And like any perfect record, Vheissu was a product of its own past through the evolution of 'The Artist In the Ambulance', 'The Illusion of Safety', and even 'Identity Crisis'.
Even after outlining the decorated past, some of the album’s brightest points have gone umentioned. The haunting beauty and tremendous, harmonized climax of “Words In The Water” make it one of the most important songs in Thrice’s library and a perfect show closer. Though everything could have ended there, “Listen Through Me” immediately owns your next 4:38, largely due to the fantastic playing of drummer Riley Breckenridge; only on your second listen through 'Major/Minor' can you comprehend his importance to the album. The same goes for his brother, bassist Eddie Breckenridge, an integral part of the band and as a much a star as any of his bandmates. To not mention either would be a travesty.
In fewer words, the above tells the story and reasoning as to why Thrice is the band we’ve been searching for. Our band. Continued evolution and excellence are rare traits, and a record like 'Major/Minor' is even rarer. You will know every lyric, listen regularly, show every person willing to listen and play for your children as a key part of their musical upbringing. This record is essential in every way. Until you can teach its importance to others, just know that Thrice has delivered their masterpiece.
01. Yellow Belly
05. Call It In the Air
06. Treading Paper
08. Words In the Water
09. Listen Through Me