Leaks suck. I bought a house with a hole in its roof and water damage consumed my life for three months. It seems like album leaks are inevitable these days but most bands just shrug and move on. It’s disappointing but is there anything bands can do to fight the growing piracy of music? Apparently, something can be done, (if you care), and when Thrice’s Beggars was found online over the summer, the band grieved, then came up with a strategical plan and moved on. The aftermath was a digital release in August of the ten core tracks, then a physical release in September with complete artwork and five downloadable bonus tracks.
A few days ago I listened to and reviewed Brand New’s Daisy, an overreaching chore of an album. Beggars is everything Daisy should have been and more–a mature, heavy and thoughtful collection of tracks made by more focused musicians. Thrice are able to stay true to their sound by blending familiar riffs and intelligent lyrics with the more experimental elements of their past two releases without going overboard and alienating their core audience.
The album is again self-produced by guitarist Teppei Terashi and while we could debate the merits of the home studio all day, I think the results are more favorable here than on the Alchemy Fire disc (See: DRUMS). Everything sounds pretty raw but the band is able to pull the most out of their instruments, with Dustin Kensrue shining once more on vocals. Even though there’s no double-bass drumming or intense shredding, the songs feel more cohesive and prove that you don’t need distortion to be heavy (“All the World is Mad” and “At the Last”). The songs don’t beat you over the head right away, but after several listens, the admiration grows. My favorite track so far is “Doublespeak” which combines piano, half-time riffs and a slinky bass line to really represent what Thrice has evolved into–a group that makes great music, puts on a great live show, doesn’t follow trends and knows who they are above all else. Basically a great rock band.