Thrice released their 11th studio album Horizons/East this month, the southern Californian band’s third since ending a hiatus in 2015, with an already 12th album forthcoming in the works titled Horizons/West.
Thrice retains the four original members in singer and guitarist Dustin Kensrue, guitarist Teppei Teranishi, bassist Eddie Breckenridge and drummer Riley Breckenridge (yes, brothers) from the band’s start in 1998. Thrice’s music style has evolved over the years with a noticeable shift coming in their albums since the band’s return from a three-year hiatus.
My earliest memory of Thrice was the band as a screamo style act, something hardly, if at all, present on Horizons/East. I’d probably not even know of Thrice if not for two co-employees, one who claimed to know the drummer Breckenridge, and another, such a fan, was always trying to get me to go to a Thrice concert.
Though the band did incorporate screamo to some of their songs early on, labeling them as such distracts from their more punk sounding roots and alternative rock stance. The 10-song nearly 45 minute record demonstrates darker tones bordering on doleful at times, with heavy guitar chords and a distinct dry vocal style – erasing the early higher-pitched youthful tones – that fully emerged with 2015’s To be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere. An additional 10 songs written for the album will make up the complementing Horizons/West release.
Each of the songs on Horizons/East requires an exercise in listening indulgence or you might not get it. Sometimes laborious with slower soft starts that crescendo into madness before pulling back, stand-outs on Horizons/East include the proggy opening track “The Color of the Sky,” a rather intensive “Scavengers,” a much softer almost near departure from the rest in “Northern Lights” with a guitar lick that sounds like Satriani or Eric Johnson engulfed by an affecting chorus and 90s alt rockers in both “Buried in the Sun” and “Summer Set Fire to the Rain.”
You might find “Still Life and “The Dreamer” a bit arduous to get through though the latter holds a better melody. “Robot Soft Exorcism” starts off as another apt departure like “Northern Lights” with a heavier use of keyboards before the guitars forcefully takeover and even more so with the calm before the guitar storm hits on “Dandelion Wine.” Horizons/East closes with mostly piano filler and some chant like vocals on “Unitive/East.” Not sure the point but maybe Horizons/West will have an answer.
None of the songs on Horizons/East have the quick, fast-paced Blink-182 punk rock style beats of the band’s early years but instead sound like a hardened but similarly focused version of Porcupine Tree marked by Kensrue’s parched vocals.
Thrice Horizons/East Songs:
- The Color of the Sky
- Buried in the Sun
- Northern Lights
- Summer Set Fire to the Rain
- Still Life
- The Dreamer
- Robot Soft Exorcism
- Dandelion Wine