Time to grow up
Six albums down the line and Thrice are a very different beast. “Beggars” is almost unrecognisable as Thrice when compared to most of their back catalogue; (perhaps apart from “The Alchemy Index”) in fact, worryingly, there are times on this record that it could be U2 that you’re hearing. Nevertheless, the album does start well, ‘All The World Is Mad’ is a big, catchy anthem, but it’s more measured stadium rock than the visceral, heavy and emotive tunes you might expect to hear from them. On the other hand it may not come as too much of a surprise to fans to hear that, as they’ve been gradually getting softer and slicker on each album and this seems to be the culmination of that change.
The album may be less heavy, gone (mostly)are the chunky riffs, soaring melodies, heavy drums and vocals always on the edge of a scream, but it does still show off some of the epic and anthemic qualities that have always made their tunes so instantly likeable, and no matter how cohesive it is, there is still a strong element of experimentation (which really started to come to the fore on “Vheissu”) shown here in the many stylistic changes and the fact that there is plenty of variety from track to track.
While they never really reach the heady, emotional heights of “The Artist In The Ambulance” or “Vheissu” there are some genuinely lovely moments and you can still hear the Thrice of old in these tunes, some may say that this is a more mature sound and to be fair, if they hadn’t evolved, they’d still be chugging out the same tunes over and over. The album is definitely a grower rather than an immediate favourite and really does get better and better with each listen, tunes like ‘Circles’ have a dignified and quietly tuneful quality, if you pay attention you can hear vocal echoes and complex background riffs meandering throughout, creating something with many more layers than is initially apparent. The most instant tracks are opener ‘All The World Is Mad’ which is catchy and memorable straight away, ‘Talking Through Glass’ and ‘In Exile’ which (despite the odd whiff of cheese)is also single worthy and builds nicely to a noisy climax.