Album Review: Thrice - 'Palms'
Californian post-hardcore band Thrice are back with their tenth album after signing to Epitaph.
‘Palms’ opens up with the synth-heavy, ‘Only Us’ which as it develops grows into a bass-driven question filled song that asks about the future of humanity and how long can we go on fighting each other. Frontman Dustin Kensrue’s gravelly vocals almost scream, “when will it be enough” at you. Speaking of ‘Only Us’, he says; “this idea of seeing the whole world as your tribe. The lines we have dividing us are arbitrary and unnecessary." The first single from the album, ‘The Grey’ and ‘Blood on Blood’ are a scattering of chunky guitar, yearning vocals and an occasional pop-punk riff. They find themselves adding more pieces to the picture Thrice are painting, about the state of our world, with ‘Blood on Blood’s colourful harp solo. Whereas ‘The Dark’ is a little bit slower in pace, though it has the signature explosion of drums toward the end before climaxing in a choir-esque chorus where the band invited fans to sing along with them.
‘Just Breathe’ enters that dream state with vocals seeming just a little bit far away from the present, as if it is a mantra. There is a discord that forms with the off-set guitar and bass which almost clash, though somehow finding their way back to each other. If you listen closely, you can hear some breathy female vocals which comes from American singer-songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle, who released an album on the same day. ‘Everything Belongs’ seems to find itself slotting into the puzzle pieces left behind by ‘Just Breathe’ the build up of guitars creates a wall around you, where you can just let the words wash over you and find your place in the sound. ‘My Soul’ takes on a jazzier tone, with Kensrue’s voice showing it’s versatility. “Are you ready for my soul? What if I open my heart and somehow we stumble into something real.” There is an air of post-apocalyptic discovery that is wrapped up in the album. The combination of different guitar tones, synths and pedals creates a modern universe that is slightly more progressive than what we have heard from Thrice, so far.
Journeying back to their roots, is the shouty and angsty ‘A Branch In The River’ which is less complicated than its predecessors but lets you see the progression in their sound. ‘Hold Up A Light’ sees Thrice delve into the territory of stadium rock - almost having a bit of a Foo Fighters sound. The gravelly vocals that repeat in the chorus whilst the guitars argue for the forefront, in discorded chaos, paints that familiar sound that I generally associate with Dave Grohl. ‘Beyond The Pines’ is a curious end to the album. In one way, it brings back the jazzy element with the combination of bass and guitar chords, but instead of building into more of a song, it almost fades away. Distant metallic guitar which is barely there, groans away whilst the vocals fade off, almost in memory; “I will meet you there.”
‘Palms’ goes to show that after twenty years of being a lesser known band to the general population, Thrice are still on the forefront of the post-hardcore scene and are carving out a new sound for themselves, along the way.
Words by Tyler Damara Kelly