Released: September 20th 2011
Label: Atlantic Records
Producer: Dave Shiffman
Sounds like: Alternative, bluesy rock
Major/Minor is Thrice’s seventh studio album and it builds on the style that the band experimented with on Beggars, but with more grit and urgency, so that it ends up sounding like a mix between Beggars and Vheissu. For me, that is a perfect mix and this album is probably the strongest album that Thrice have written since The Artist in the Ambulance.
Dustin’s signature vocals sound superb throughout the album, switching seamlessly from hauntingly beautiful to harshly aggressive. On Beggars, the chilling tones of the most sombre tracks carried the most impact and those moments are present on Major/Minor as well, most notably ‘Words on the Water’, which could be one of the best songs they’ve written to date. Where this album exceeds Beggars though is in the variety it offers; the tempo shifts from one track to the next and the songs move from hard hitting anthems, to mesmerising piano-ballads and all that lies between. Essentially, it’s a compendium of the best elements of this alternative-rock, almost blues, sounding style that they’ve been playing with since 2005.
The excellent songs on this album are greatly enhanced by the production, which suits the style of music perfectly. In isolation, each instrument sounds a bit odd: the drums are a little tinny, the guitars are crunchy and unpolished and the bass has a rather sharp sound to it, but when they come together it sounds superb. It feels as though they’ve gone back to basics a little with the production, stripping away the polish to leave everything sounding raw, and it gives the album warmth and integrity that allows the songs to breathe.
I haven’t been truly excited by a Thrice album since the Artist in the Ambulance days, when the band were more of a post-hardcore band – I’ve still enjoyed the albums, but from an appreciation stance than pure excitement. On Major/Minor, the band have really hit their stride and it’s a fantastic feeling to be once again excited by a Thrice album. This one deserves all the praise it gets.