Album: To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere
It’s been a while since we’ve heard any new music from Thrice, but they’ve welcomed us back with complete and utter ease in “Hurricane,” the first track off of the band’s ninth LP, To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere. With buzzed guitars and airy sounds leading to an implosive introduction, “Hurricane” bleeds with the same ferocity listeners felt as the band announced their hiatus back in 2012.
When the chorus finally erupts, and vocalist/guitarist Dustin Kensrue expels “It’s going to rain, it’s going to rain until the levy breaks,” the pure magic in the atmospherically collective, grudgingly brutal groove Thrice present can only be explained by a lasting feeling of calm; calm that the band have seemingly lost no steps in their songwriting as years have divided their time together. As an opener alone, “Hurricane” could be one of Thrice’s best songs, and that sure has weight being their ninth LP, and their first new record in five years.
“Blood On The Sand,” the first track released from the LP sits better with company around it. On its own it feels like a more “safe” track, especially for a five-year hiatus single, but it flows just fine from “Hurricane” to “The Window,” the latter having one of the most infectiously dirty guitar tones the band has captured yet. Sounding like a lovechild of Fire and Air, “The Window” encapsulates Thrice’s wonderful ability to sound absolutely terrifying, yet hauntingly beautiful and hopeful at the same time. It is far too easy to lose yourself in the outro, as Thrice pound through one of the heavier moments of the record.
“Wake Up” brings a little blues to the mix, and grows on what Thrice set out to do on Beggars. Featuring a sprawling rhythm section, the track gives plenty of room for Kensrue to swirl around vocally, and vast spaces for guitarist Teppei Teranishi to fill. Blending elements of Kensrue’s fantastic solo release, Carry The Fire, “Wake Up” blends the worlds together, with the rest of the band granting it with that Thrice touch. “The Long Defeat” is much brighter than the tracks leading up to it, featuring a massive chorus and time for Eddie and Riley Breckenridge time to shine together in the verses. Kensrue sways in and out of vocal melodies, with production on the LP sounding crisp and refreshing, as guitars transform from part to part, weaving in different sounds as random words spill out of Kensrue’s mouth to enter echoed repeats and effects, giving each hook a little more punch to get the listener moving easily.
“Seneca” separates the opening half of the album with relaxing ease. Featuring layered sounds building from a single riff, the minute interlude provides an intermission for the heavy halves of the album, giving everything the room it needs to breathe.
The latter half of the album continues with exceptional songwriting, and defines To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere as a dynamic rock album that tends to exert all of the experimental qualities Thrice have honed in since their inception. “Black Honey,” a previously released single, pulsates with its heavy-hitting chorus. With absolute grit for vocals, and an urgent guitar lead, “Black Honey” stands tall as one of the best outputs of the work.
Lyrically, Kensrue seems to have had his mind on social and political issues, as these themes bleed through onto the tracks. Notably, “Whistleblower” is a nod to Edward Snowden, and the Fire-like chorus in “Death From Above” explodes into Kensrue screaming of the consequences of much of the U.S. foreign policy actions. I did feel a tad bit detached from some of the songs that lay heavy on these types of messages, but I have always found myself preferring Kensrue’s spiritual outings as a lyricist. Either way, they do not take away from the emotions given in his voice and the music.
Giving listeners an alt-rock ballad such as “Stay With Me” and the gravel-like “Death From Above,” and to close with “Salt And Shadow,” shows that Thrice have carefully made sure TBEITBN is an album that celebrates the band’s long career and return to form, all while paving a path for what is to come. Not only is TBEITBN one of the best albums of the year, it’s also one of the band’s strongest releases to date, blending elements of nearly all their albums preceding it. To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere reignites what it means to fall for Thrice’s music and songwriting all over again.