Thrice gives ‘Major’ album to fans

Justin Marietti

It is very difficult for an artist to approach their canvas a little differently each and every time they begin a new piece.

It is even more difficult for a musician to do so: to maintain continuity and the flavor of the things of the past, but also to create something that is still somehow unique and apart from the rest of their work.

One of Southern California’s most successful rock quartets, Thrice, manages to somehow reinvent themselves just slightly every time they release a record.

I own all of them, and not a single one sounds quite like the next. Not only that, but there is a very evident maturation that can be heard throughout their years of making music.

“Major/Minor,” their seventh major label studio album, was released on Sept. 20. Since I refuse to download music, I had only heard one song, “Promises,” before it came out.

To be honest, it sounded a lot like their previous album, “Beggars.” That is to be expected to some extent, but for some reason, it concerned me a bit.

“Beggars” is one of only a couple of albums Thrice has put out that I wasn’t immediately crazy about; it took some time to digest before I fell in love with it.

This was certainly not the case with “Major/Minor.” First of all, when I opened the booklet for the CD and saw that the album was dedicated to the mother of lead guitarist Teppei Teranishi and the father of bassist Ed Breckenridge and drummer Riley Breckenridge, I knew this would be one of their best records ever.

That may sound odd, but I mean it in the most positive way possible. Thrice is just one of those bands that are fully capable of taking the awful emotions that come with loss, grieving and turning it into something deeply heartfelt and beautiful. And that’s exactly what they did with “Major/Minor.”

The record starts off on a very commanding note with tracks like “Yellow Belly” and “Promises,” the latter of which is this album’s equivalent of “The Weight.”

These songs remind me of the previous album quite a bit, but also had shades of “Air & Earth.” But track three, “Blinded,” is the beginning of their best material to date.

Obviously, the song writing is like black-and-white when compared to the days of 2003s “The Artist in the Ambulance,” but I’m just as much of a fan of this new material as I was of the older, grittier stuff.

It seems paradoxical to me that a band can get less “heavy” in the technical sense, yet their albums carry more weight than they did before. However, that is exactly what Thrice has done over the span of their career.

I’m not going to argue with them about the name of the album; I’m sure they had their reasons. But I have to say that they probably could have just gone with a self-title on this one; it seems to embody what they are trying to do as a band even better than the other records have.

I think the strongest tracks on “Major/Minor” are “Words in the Water,” “Listen through Me,” Treading Paper” and “Anthology.”

The verse on “Treading Paper” has a nice Southern, bluesy feel to it that is hard to shake.

“Anthology” is one of the closing tracks, and it lives up to its title.

The lyrics contain references to a handful of old Thrice songs, and the song writing seems to give a nod to the style of music on 2002s “The Illusion of Safety,” their first major-label album.

There are plenty of original Thrice fans that turned their back on this band years ago. They criticized the band’s evolution in sound; they say that Thrice got soft.

Personally, I think Thrice’s music just started getting really good when these so-called “fans” decided to jump ship, and it only improves with every album.

For those who have never heard of this band before, this would be an excellent album to start with.