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2016 is still rolling by, and the albums are getting more diverse. Here's what I've listened to over the last three months (April - June) and links to the albums I've reviewed.
5-Star Albums (8.5 - 10)
- Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool - 10
- Deftones - Gore: 9.5
- Gojira - Magma: 9
- Thrice - Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere: 8.5
- Architects - All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us: 8.5
- Weezer - Weezer (White Album): 8.5
- LIGHTS - Midnight Machines: 8.5
- The Last Shadow Puppets - Everything You've Come To Expect: 8.5
- letlive. - If I'm The Devil...: 8.5
4-Star Albums (6.5 - 8)
- Beyoncé - LEMONADE: 8
- Issues - Headspace: 7.5
- Drake - Views: 7.5
- Swans - The Glowing Man : 7.5
- Meadowlark - Parraffin: 7.5
- Yeasayer - Amen & Goodbye: 7
- Against The Current - In Our Bones: 7
- Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman: 7
- PUP - The Dream Is Over: 7
- Jon Bellion - The Human Condition: 7
- Modern Baseball - Holy Ghost - 7
- Cult Of Luna & Julie Christmas - Mariner: 7
- Death Grips - Bottomless Pit - 7
- BABYMETAL - Metal Resistance: 7
- Melt Yourself Down - Last Evenings On Earth: 7
- Dark Suns - Everchild: 7
- DJ Shadow - The Mountain Will Fall: 7
- Band Of Skulls - By Default: 7
- The Algorithm - Brute Force: 7
- Flume - Skin: 7
- Olaf Stuut - Run: 7
- Katatonia - The Fall Of Hearts: 6.5
- Nick Jonas - Last Year Was Complicated: 6.5
- Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Getaway: 6.5
3-Star Albums (4.5 - 6)
- JMSN - It Is.: 6
- FAWNN - Galaxies: 6
- Skepta - Konnichiwa: 6
- Islands - Taste: 6
- Mogwai - Atomic: 6
- Beartooth - Aggressive: 5.5
- Explosions In The Sky - The Wilderness: 5.5
- The Goo Goo Dolls - Boxes: 5.5
- Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book: 5
- Desiigner - New English: 5
2-Star Albums (2.5 - 4)
1-Star Albums (0 - 2)
Top Albums Of 2016 (so far)
- Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
- AURORA - All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend
- Panic! At The Disco - Death Of A Bachelor
- Deftones - Gore
- Dream Theater - The Astonishing
- Foxes - All I Need
- Daughter - Not To Disappear
- Gojira - Magma
- Thrice - To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere
- Architects - All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
Top Songs Of 2016 (so far)
- AURORA - 'Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) (Acoustic)'
- Radiohead - 'True Love Waits'
- Deftones - 'Hearts/Wires'
- Radiohead - 'Daydreaming' *
- Panic! At The Disco - 'Emperor's New Clothes'
- Foxes - 'Better Love'
- Lacey Sturm - 'Rot'
- AURORA - 'Through The Eyes Of A Child'
- Deftones - 'Phantom Bride'
- Thrice - 'Black Honey'
Just when you thought they were done, they come right back, bigger than ever. Alternative rock giants Thrice is back from their hiatus with their ninth record, To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere. The album doesn’t see them going back to their heavy, complex roots, but eases into a comfortable alternative rock/heavy rock compromise that compliments every aspect of their sound.
To Be Everywhere is a sort of slow burning wildfire. It has brilliant sparks of energy and blazing infernos at its core, but also has plenty of moments which are just flying ashes in the aftermath. The album is caked in a sort of mysterious darkness that envelops every track, morphing it into a silent watcher. It’s relatable at the same time it’s crushingly true. That very darkness is captured in the central instrumental divider track, ‘Seneca’, that provides that dark spaciousness that a lot of the album features. Slow burners in this wildfire include songs like ‘The Long Defeat’ (which sounds like it was taken straight from the Pianos Become The Teeth play book) and a lot of the verse melodies found on the album. Other songs, however, are less slow and more massive.
Intro track ‘Hurricane’ begins on a folky acoustic guitar note, an interesting juxtaposition to the massive rock track that immediately follows the light beginning. The ending of this song is so crushingly powerful, you can feel the enormity of it grabbing hold of you. There’s plenty of huge moments on the album like this, many of the choruses being big and loud. Lead single ‘Blood In The Sand’ pairs its massive choruses with verses filled with chunky basses and loud background chants. ‘Whistleblower’ also bears a giant outro paired with a solid body showing that Thrice is at the top of their game. Lead singer Dustin Kensrue channels his inner Halestorm in ‘Wake Up’, the hard rock influences of the album coming out loud and clear.
Paired with the darkness of the album is it’s rawness. This album is chocked to the brim with pure and unbridled emotion, and that’s evident within every aspect. Urgency and panic is channeled through the instrumental and melody of ‘The Window’, while pure anger comes through in ‘Death From Above’, which honestly feels like it’s more of a rant by the end of it. At the center of the album, following the instrumental interlude, is the duo of single ‘Black Honey’ and ‘Stay With Me’. While the two tracks are not necessarily a pair, they share a similar progression as far as lyrics go. ‘Honey’ is dark and demanding, but in the same respect feels like a surrender. It resolves itself by the end, which has a touch of hope to it, as if another chance is available, the bridge somberly promising, “this time, I’ll get it right.” ‘Stay’ feels like a continuation of the promise made at the end of the former track, or, in better terms, an elaboration. The promise made at the end of ‘Honey’ becomes a plead in ‘Stay’, as if the final chance has come, and the narrator must beg for it to thrive. It’s an interesting combination - it feels intentional, but there’s no way to tell for sure. The progression in itself is sweet enough as it is. The album as a whole concludes on the slow burner, ‘Salt and Shadow’. It’s the longest song on the record and definitely not the most exciting, but it does have a sense of finality that ends the record on a fulfilling note.
Thrice never fails to impress with their releases. They’ve been in the game for a little under two decades now, and every release is stronger and stronger. They’ve carved their niche out in the alternative rock sphere and continue to make it their own. To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere is a confident and powerful return to music for the band, and shows that the band isn’t ready to hand up the towel just yet. There’s a lot more ground to cover yet.
Favorite Tracks: Black Honey, Hurricane, Blood On The Sand, The Window
Least Favorite Tracks: Death From Above