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Beggars by Thrice

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Reviewed on 22nd August 2009.



By Thrice

The ridiculously early leak of 'Beggars' has worked in favour of fans of Thrice, with the digital release of the album pushed forward from the planned October release. In some ways, the leak could possibly have worked in the favour of the band too as an unorthodox promotional strategy, because since the leak, people have been talking about it. Thrice can also take comfort in the fact that they have a loyal fanbase who generally are still part of the record-buying community and will support the physical release when it is out in September.

'Beggars' is another step for Thrice to distance themselves from the bands that they have unfortunately been categorised with in the past. Even when they were known as a post-hardcore band, they were the band trying to push the scene further than the bands that were just out to make a quick buck from the current musical trend. Thrice's ambition to expand and progress is the reason that their music still sounds so fresh and completely different to the band they were five years ago.

Vocalist Dustin Kensrue's melodies form the focal point for many of the tracks on 'Beggars,' demonstrating how to manipulate vocals to bring even the simplest section of a song to life. 'All the World is Mad' instantly points to a progression continuing in the direction set by the ambitious 'The Alchemy Index Volumes,' with Kensrue's vocals powering over the musical backdrop set by guitarist Teppei Teranishi, and the Breckenridge brothers' rhythm section.

The structure of the songs is particularly impressive, with many of the verses possessing an ambient atmosphere before erupting into hugely soaring choruses. Both 'The Weight' and 'Circles' effectively combine simple use of instruments to great effect as the tracks unfold with climatic and suitably fitting conclusions.

Central to the album are middle tracks 'Doublespeak' and 'In Exile' which successfully maintain the high quality of the album. The first being a fairly simple track, combining a loosely hammered piano melody and a riff-centred chorus in a standard verse-chorus structure. The latter of the tracks is probably the strongest on 'Beggars,' although it is difficult to select highlights due to the consistent nature of the tracks. Again, the vocals perform perfectly against a simple background of music. The key is that the instrumentation is never overpowering, with the full potential of Dustin Kensrue being realised throughout the track as the melodies span through several genre styles.

'Beggars' is difficult to pin down into a certain genre, with 'progressive' the only tag that can easily be put on it. Tracks such as 'At the Last' and 'Talking Through Glass' have a more standard rock feel about them, with slightly more distorted outputs and aggressive natures, but they never lose their identity amongst the rest of the album. The final two tracks on the album are beautiful pieces of music, in particular 'The Great Exchange.' The music flows and has a feel of some of the music evident on the water disc of 'The Alchemy Index,' with a gentle, almost soothing use of vocals acting as a calming presence over the clean musical backing.

'Beggars' closes the album, beginning with a slow beat before growing into a larger force showcasing raw vocals and some effectively placed trem-accompanied guitar riffs accompanying a crashing percussional piece. Thrice have made another outstanding album with 'Beggars', and continue to keep their fans interested with their progression and musical direction. It is a shame that the album leaked as early as it did, but thankfully 'Beggars' has the staying power to stay interesting until the band's next release.



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