The Artist in the Ambulance CD – Island

Major media outlets have branded Thrice as a blend of pop-punk, hardcore, emo and indie rock. While this may sound like the worst sort of catchphrase-happy genre labeling, for once it’s just about right. For the band’s major label debut, they’ve taken influences from the trendiest pop-punk to the artiest indie rock and the heaviest hardcore and metal and combined it into a package that is unrepentantly commercial, but simultaneously very satisfying. The album is unrelentingly paced, but still leaves time for catchy hooks and humable melodies. Despite its pop veneer, the songs rarely feel forced or contrived, coming across as a natural extension of the wide influences of the band. Standout tracks include the blisteringly heavy “Paper Tigers,” which lets singer Dustin Kensrue unleash his razor-throated hardcore wail, and “Stare at the Sun,” which combines powerful riffing with some delicate melodies. Occasionally, the band’s populist tendencies get the best of them, and they end with songs like “The Artist in the Ambulance,” which is heavy on hook but skimps on substance. Still, Thrice has proven that a catchy, popular album can still sound natural and genuine, blending influences and crossing boundaries without concern. (Peter Suderman)



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