Review: The Thermals | Personal Life

Kill Rock Stars (2010)
By REYAN ALI  |  September 7, 2010
2.5 2.5 Stars

1008_thermals_hoem

What's happened to the Thermals? As recently as last year's Now We Can See, this Portland (Oregon) indie-punk band were taking on religious fanaticism, death, Armageddon — shit going haywire in general — and doing so with the playful spark of folks just psyched to be alive and creating clamor.

Personal Life is the anti–Now We Can See. The music suggests Archers of Loaf or Built To Spill (bands excellent at being forlorn), even if the Thermals' actual instrumentation has little kinship with '90s indie rock. Most jarring are the changes in guitarist/vocalist Hutch Harris: he still boasts the perky, nasal voice of a middle-schooler (not always a bad thing), but nearly everything he shouts here sounds either crestfallen or misguidedly hopeful. (From "Never Listen to Me," the nadir: "I'll give you all that I have/I'll tell you everything/Love me all of my life/Never listen to me.")

Even the group "oh-oh-way-oh-oh" that Harris leads in "Your Love Is So Strong" is funereal. Despite the band's ability to sound sincere even as they dramatically shift tonal gears, the excessive doses of ache can be tiring. There are rare glimmers here, but maturity sure is sobering.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Kill Rock Stars,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY REYAN ALI
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MARNIE STERN | THE CHRONICLES OF MARNIA  |  March 13, 2013
    In the arena of charming and entertaining indie-music figures, Marnie Stern stands unopposed.
  •   NO REST FOR BLACKBIRD BLACKBIRD  |  March 13, 2013
    Blackbird Blackbird's 2012 EP Boracay Planet takes its name from two sources: Boracay — a beach-filled, postcard-perfect island in the Philippines — and a dream Mikey Maramag had about the tourist trap, despite never having visited.
  •   WILD BELLE PUSH MAGICAL BUTTONS  |  February 11, 2013
    Wild Belle's multi-ethnic allegiances — Afropop, reggae, and rocksteady — fuse into American indie-pop and classic rock. Results are, at varying times, tropical, tepid, and tempestuous.
  •   THE LUMINEERS AIM FOR THE RAFTERS  |  February 01, 2013
    Jeremiah Fraites isn't famous — at least not yet. The drummer of the Lumineers, the folk trio who experienced an outrageously fruitful 2012, is talking to me two days before appearing on the January 19 Saturday Night Live, but he doesn't sound convinced that his band have crossed the fame threshold.
  •   PHANTOM GLUE COME INTO FOCUS  |  January 23, 2013
    Variations of "nightmarish" and "psychedelic" come up repeatedly as Matt Oates describes his band's work — which makes sense, given that Phantom Glue trace their roots back to Slayer, the Jesus Lizard, and cult post-hardcore act KARP.

 See all articles by: REYAN ALI