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Thrice – To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, May 26, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    You have to pick one: an album you enjoy or an album that the artist is happy with.

    I’m not here to say either answer is correct or to call those who don’t enjoy Thrice’s long-awaited comeback, and ninth studio album, To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere, selfish or wrong. But let’s be honest and say that rarely does artistic growth and vision mesh completely with fan expectation. Essentially, I’m arguing that there are going to be some fans who are disappointed with Thrice’s new album. As unfortunate as that is, the band should take solace in knowing they’ve crafted their best work in years.

    This album feels fluid as it shifts stylistically every few tracks. It’s clear that the time taken off since 2011 was not put to waste and “Hurricane” is potentially the band’s strongest opening track to date. A distorted acoustic guitar introduces the verse’s light, electronic flourishes, echoing The Pixies’ “Where is My Mind” before crushing guitars signal the song’s sweeping chorus. Kensrue has never sounded better, his voice carrying more soul and emotion than ever before.

    The band loses no momentum transitioning into “Blood in the Sand,” a high energy single notable for Kensrue’s high-pitched snarl as he sings, “There’s blood on the sand/There’s blood in the street/And there’s a gun in my hand/Or there might as well be/And I’m sick of it.” As a whole, Thrice seem like a band who have taken something from each album, and Kensrue as a lyricist has ultimately moved away from religious references in favor of political turmoil and social unrest. These themes appear prominently in songs like “Whistleblower,” “Black Honey,” and “Death From Above” — the latter sporting a devastating chorus riff that would make Mastadon proud. “The Window” places its grungy guitar work upfront, recalling Radiohead as the track is backed by light and versatile percussion. Together, the album’s first and last quarters represent an artistic high and the side of Thrice most fans have likely come to expect.

    From my reading, it seems that the most common criticism of the first released singles have been by including some meaningless genre tag like “radio rock.” Silly comparisons were made to bands like Nickelback and Three Days Grace because, well, those are rock bands that get played on the radio. At this point it’s unnecessary to go into why these comparisons make no sense stylistically, but they’re also strange because Thrice have been a rock band receiving radio play since 2003. To criticize a ripper like “Blood in the Sand” for fitting on the radio but not, say, fan favorites “Under a Killing Moon” or “Image of the Invisible” seems strange.

    The only real misstep here is “Wake Up,” the track most similar to 2011’s lackluster Major/Minor. The song pits an out-of-place blues verse against a generic Foo Fighters-esque chorus riff. But even this is enjoyable enough in context. The album’s midsection is filled with some of the band’s catchiest and, dare I say, radio-ready songs yet. “The Long Defeat” and “Black Honey” sound like they could be alt-rock staples, equal parts straightforward and triumphant. However, the standout is “Stay With Me,” a rare uplifting moment in Thrice’s catalog featuring haunting verses sung in Kensrue’s lower register. It’s a moment rivaled only by the album’s beautiful closing track, “Salt and Shadow,” a special nod to fans who herald The Alchemy Index and the band’s experimentation with atmosphere on Vol. III: Air. The way it pairs perfectly with the album opener is a thing of beauty.

    So with all of this in mind, who does this album most please? In theory, it should please anyone who has latched onto one of the band’s genre-challenging albums post-2003. To Be Everywhere is the definition of a career-spanning album; it’s all here, from the more direct songwriting structure of The Artist in the Ambulance to the textures and tones of fan-favorite Vheissu. But ultimately this album feels most connected to Thrice’s 2009 masterpiece, Beggars. Sonically speaking, this album feels like a natural follow-up by taking Beggars’ minimalistic tendencies and focus on rhythm and blowing them up to epic proportions. They may have dialed back on the experimental song structures but pushed further into lush arrangements that allow the instruments to breath.

    If after 42 minutes of new Thrice you still feel the need to reduce the band’s output to “radio-rock,” that’s honestly fine, because as a band who continues to stretch and expand genres, they deserve all the radio airplay they get and they write rock songs. Simply put, To Be Everywhere is To Be Nowhere is one of the best “rock” records of 2016 and an ambitious entry into Thrice’s already stunning catalog.

    efp722 likes this.
  2. contra11mundum

    I hate spoilers. Supporter

    I'm stoked. I've always had a hard time clicking with Thrice but I think this might be the one. Loved the singles.
    DejaMoi and Aaron Mook like this.
  3. efp722


    Really looking forward to this tomorrow. The review is clear and well written but very defensive and that is a bit off putting.
    Anthony Brooks and OotyPa like this.
  4. oneeightytwo


    Excited to listen tomorrow... however, it it not 'breathe' rather than 'breath'?
    Aaron Mook likes this.
  5. OotyPa

    fall away

    You thought Major/Minor was lackluster? Lolwut
  6. efp722


    For me, I loved Beggars. And while i did enjoy most of Major/minor it did fall a tiny bit flat when compared to Beggars.

    Gun to the head and I had to choose, i'd always go with Beggars. So I can kind of understand where they were coming from.
    DejaMoi and Aaron Mook like this.
  7. Would you mind explaining this a little more? Thanks for reading, by the way
  8. You read correctly
  9. efp722


    Sure! Sorry if my comment came off rude, totally wasn't my intent. I've been a big Thrice fan for years and have really enjoyed the singles so far. I've been check the site for days waiting for the review to go up and jumped at it right when I saw it.

    I guess I was assuming unanimous praise for their comeback and was let scratching my head at the review. It's getting the praise but it also seems to be trying to readjust everyone's expectations. But further along you do address that with the section that talks about the radio rock comparisons, so what your saying does make sense.
    Aaron Mook likes this.
  10. Great review Aaron! From the glowing conclusion, I'm surprised you tagged the review with "Recommended" and not "Highly Recommended."
    Aaron Mook likes this.
  11. No worries! Not rude at all, I'm always open to constructive criticism. I just want to know a little more about your thoughts haha. I definitely am praising it while trying to let everyone know what they're in for. I'm not disappointed at all, but if others are, it will likely be because of the direction rather than the quality of the songwriting itself. Does that make sense?
    Nate_Johnson and efp722 like this.
  12. Thanks Chase! I mentioned it in the album thread, so it's worth mentioning here: I think this is a great listen all-around. There's a lot I love, some I really like, and a couple I'm not as fond of. It won't be my AOTY or anything, but it's one of three Thrice albums I really love, and that makes me happy. I just wasn't too sure how often I'd revisit their discography after Major/Minor
    Nate_Johnson and Chase Tremaine like this.
  13. thetruthisvile

    I sing in Sarah and the Safe Word.

    I thought it was, too.
    Aaron Mook likes this.
  14. efp722


    Yes it does!

    Really looking forward to finally giving this a spin tomorrow
    Aaron Mook likes this.
  15. Aaron Mook May 26, 2016
    (Last edited: May 26, 2016)
    I hope you enjoy it! Let us know what you think!
    efp722 likes this.
  16. The parallels I'm started to draw between Thrice's and Radiohead's discographies are starting to blow my mind, haha. Gotta write more about that
  17. palebluedot


    Blood in the Sand and Black Honey weren't what I expected, so my hopes for this album are really low by now
  18. princexero

    Let's Lead, Not Follow

    Nice review. I'm listening to this aoty contender tomorrow. Can't wait! THRICE CAN DO NO WRONG :)
  19. morken

    Not everything means something, honey Supporter

    Now I'm even more excited for tomorrow. Great review Aaron!
    Aaron Mook likes this.
  20. Hey, thanks!
  21. doozer27


    I created an account just to comment on this review (still mourning my old 2004 account).

    Spot on review man! The criticisms and positive comments are spot on! "Wake up" feels out of place but is the only song that I skip. Dustin has waxed political before in songs like "cold cash and colder hearts."

    Do you think think he really moved away from religious references? I still here references to faith in Hurricane ("my faith feels like a fistful of sand") and the long defeat ("holding onto hope without assurances"). Granted, I do not have the lyrics to any of these songs I can just remember hearing phrases that stuck out to me so I may be off base.

    I've been a fan of thrice for since I was 15 and now I'm 30 years of age. What a gift it has been to grow with up with this band and Dustin Kensrue's lyrics. I'm so glad they make a different album each time, this is a band that never stagnates in sound. There are so few bands from when I was a teenager that I stayed fans of 15 years later. That's not to say that those bands still do not put out kick ass albums but what resonates with me has certainly changed.

    No doubt this album isn't for everyone but I think it is one of their strongest records. Great review and thanks for giving it the credit it deserves!

    What is Jason's feeling on the record? From what I remember he always supported this band? How about ArcadianSky or Slade (deep references for scene points bruh)
  22. Thanks for reading!

    I'm not saying he's left them behind entirely, but it's pretty well-known that one of the regrets he had about Major/Minor was how direct the lyrics referencing faith were. I'm sure it still makes up a huge part of his life and the music he writes, but I think for the sake of his fans and the rest of the band, he made a conscious decision here to put his focus elsewhere.

    I would agree that it's one of their strongest and it's great to receive a comment like this from someone who is such a longtime fan of the band :blush:

    Based on our first impressions, I'm pretty sure Jason and I have similar opinions on the album. I know he likes it. I couldn't speak for the users haha
  23. Yes please
  24. Zip It Chris

    Be kind; everyone is on their own journey.

    Ditto. It's kind of neat thinking about how we mature (I'm 30 as well) and a band like thrice sort of parallels that maturity by starting out loud and fast with heavy guitar driven tracks, and then progresses into a straight forward rock band with a little less edge but still high quality
  25. Gotcha gotcha! Well I'm happy to hear that this album will bring some people back into the fold. And it's probably for the best that the Chorus review wasn't written by a total fanboy like me, hahaha
    Aaron Mook likes this.