Thrice – Palms

Review | Remaining true to oneself while expanding one’s territory is a balancing act that not every band is able to manage. THRICE show us how it’s done. Their new creation Palms bears witness to a band that can be seen as one of the most experienced in post-hardcore.

Starting with Only Us, the musicians around band leader Dustin Kensrue show us that they don’t need a guitar to start an album. With the synthesizer being supported by great guitar and bass work, the piece depicts an overall nicely written song which makes the listener excited for the ones ahead. Lead single The Grey takes over the energy, carrying the listener through a powerful chorus.

“The Grey is all about setting aside certain rigid certainties and embracing the contextual complexity of the world around you”Dustin Kensrue

The Dark allows the listener to easily sing along the chorus before impressively closing the track with a choir of 1000 fans – a great way to involve them. With the passionate centerpiece Everything Belongs, the album reaches a nice break. It builds up greatly, adding more and more instruments and melodies. Through that, the overall intensity is stepped up nicely as the song goes on.

A Branch in the River brings us back to the times of Vheissu and The Artist in the Ambulance, providing an aggressive and distorted sound. As Kensrue puts it, the song is about fighting against the flow until realizing that letting go is the key to become a part of the whole. At this point, I have to highlight the bass work, which simply stood out on this record. In songs like
A Branch in the River and Just Breathe, Ed Breckenridge shows his musical craftsmanship through his outstanding bass-playing.

With a pre-chorus that is astonishingly un-innovative and a chorus that is definitely repeated too often, Hold Up a Light is one of the weakest moments on the album. The song went through a lot of changes in the writing process which in this case did not make the song better. Also, My Soul appeared to me like a fill track, with nothing much going on. Although the song has a nice Beach House flair, it cannot compete with the other tracks on the record.

Blood on Blood then convinces with great guitar and bass work. Also, the bridge is supported by a dreamy, experimental harp that completely moves the song’s overall style in another direction. Lyrically, closing track Beyond the Pines is the strongest song on the record. Based on the poem “A Great Wagon” by Rumi, the piece shows us what makes Dustin a great songwriter.

Overall, I really enjoyed listening to Palms. Although not belonging into my category of “unexpected”, it’s a good and consistent album that is in no way inferior to its predecessor To Be Everywhere is to be Nowhere. The Lyrics seem to be focused on simplicity opposed to complexity, which I strongly admire. These days, it is not self-explaining that a band of this calibre continues to write decent music. Thrice really show that they consistently search for new territories, despite of being twenty years into their career. In my opinion, this is a great achievement.

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Further reading
While She Sleeps, CHVRCHES, ASTRAL TAURUS