By The Thermals
When they recorded their first album on a beat up old four-track in a local hotel room, Portland trio The Thermals and their label Sub Pop boldly stuck two fingers up to the industry and said "look we can have a hit record even with out all the expensive tweaks." Quite right too, More Parts Per Million went on to be an underground smash if there is such a thing and the tinny production only added to its joy. The band stepped into the studio proper for their 2004 follow up Fuckin A and thankfully lost none of that raw appeal, if anything packing some more punch. But every album by The Thermals so far has been characterised in the same way, 1 or 2 spell-bindingly brilliant songs and some other stuff where the energy wins out. But it is these occasional moments of 3 chord post-pop-punk genius that has kept fans coming back for more and so does new album "The Body, The Blood, The Machine" deliver another imbalance of quality versus filler? Well yes, but the good now out ways the middling and to make things even more exciting the band have even discovered overdubs. Opener "Here's Your Future" roars on to your stereo with a big joyous simple riff solo, while "Pillar of Salt" uses a buzzing electro-pop sample to enhance its driving college punk. Not content with just the usual 2 good songs (wink wink) the band plough on with the brilliant "Returning to the fold" where Hutch Harris hollers more than sings "I regret leaving my soul. I forgot I needed it to feel". Although not a concept album as such the majority of the lyrics "envision a United States governed by a fascist Christian state, and focus on the need (and means) to escape". Some might argue that isn't too far from the current truth. "Test Pattern" is the closest the band might ever come to a ballad but don't worry you won't feel dirty, as the band say themselves these are just "slightly pretty songs". There are a couple of misses as on the dreary "An ear for baby" or the long winded "Back to the sea" but nothing to fret about, if anything it's nice to think the perfect album is still yet to come from The Thermals which can only be a good thing.