Reviews:: The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine

It's the day before Christmas, so it seems strangely appropriate to review a record chock o' block full of religious iconogy. I'll admit I'm a little late to jump on the Thermals bandwagon, but their latest Subpop release - The Body, The Blood, The Machine - is an amazing display of energy, intelligence and good ole fashioned punk rock.

Maybe it's the fact I spent the 90's listening to the Ramones, Screeching Weasel, and the Queers (and the anger, energy and sounds on the album are a fond reminder of those days), but I can honestly say that this album is all that's great about punk rock. The Thermals don't rely on harmonies, overdubs and nonsensical lyrics to sell records to teenagers. Instead, Hutch Harris focuses on people trying to escape an Orwellian America led by Christians to show the terrifying results that come from blind faith.

From the opening notes of Here's Your Future played on a church organ, the band jumps into a fist pumping combination of drums, meandering basslines, and buzzsaw guitars that doesn't stop attacking you. Here's Your Future is the type of song you can't ignore. Normally, concept records bore me, but the Thermals bring so much energy to the table you never have the chance to relax and fade off. You get caught up in the terror they sing about and frantically start trying to answer one simple question: how the fuck can I get out of this place?

Unlike so many band that use the same type of ideology as a major theme, the Thermals aren't locked into one sound and you never feel assaulted with the theme of the record. Sure, it's full of Hutch's extreme take of the fears of a facist Christian led homeland, but he mixes traces of optimisim, hope and rebellion with the terror. Just like the band mixes power chords and choruses with some surprising diversity. A Pillar of Salt use a surprisingly bouncy intro hitting you with, "We were born to sin!", and the classic punk rock Beach Boy influenced ballad, Test Pattern give enough variety to keep you happily listening. To be fair, even if they used the same three chords, you wouldn't care. The songs are brilliant. I can't remember the last time terror and apocolypse sounded so damn good.

The band is bringing the noise to Vancouver:
Thermals :: February 22nd @ the Plaza

MP3:: Here's Your Future
MP3:: A Pillar of Salt

web page :: label :: more tracks


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