ALBUM REVIEW: Thrice – Palms

Release Date: September 14th 2018
Label: Epitaph Records


Post-hardcore. Originally derived from hardcore punk, it’s now a broad and expansive genre that has spawned numerous great artists – Glassjaw, Alexisonfire, and Thursday to name three – but few have been as influential and enduring as California’s Thrice.

2003’s ‘The Artist In The Ambulance’ has stood the test of time as one of the defining albums of the genre, and is still cited by bands today as an inspiration. Since taking a much mourned hiatus from 2011 until 2016, returning with the critically acclaimed ‘To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere’, they’ve now jumped ship to Epitaph Records for the release of their tenth album, ‘Palms’.

Right from the start, it’s clear that this could be Thrice‘s most diverse and versatile album that they’ve ever written, kicking off with ‘Only Us’, a soaring, melodious behemoth of a track set to shimmering synth. It’s undoubtedly a new direction for the band. The ‘Vheissu’ vibes can still be heard under the surface, but the evolution and growth can practically be felt amongst Ed Breckenridge‘s juddering bass.

In contrast, lead single ‘The Grey’ is straight up rock that could’ve easily made a home on ‘Beggars’ had it been written ten years earlier.

Elsewhere, ‘Everything Belongs’ is the type of piano rock ballad that Coldplay would be proud of (and wish they could write), whilst ‘A Branch In The River’ revisits the classic post-hardcore sound that made this band famous. Guitarist Teppei Teranishi is on form throughout, as is drummer Riley Breckenridge, particularly with the huge rolling drums on ‘The Dark’.

Naturally though, it’s frontman Dustin Kensrue who really shines. His vocals remain outstanding, and closer ‘Beyond The Pines’ is a standout that really showcases his lyrical abilities (“I will meet you there, beyond the pines. / Templed in twilight or dawn. / The light and easy air tracing the lines on our palms.”), rising to an emotive crescendo before rippling out into eerie quiet.

On ‘Palms’, Thrice show why they deserve to be ranked up there with the best bands of their genre, and possibly one of the best bands in ANY genre. This album may not reach the cult status of ‘The Artist In The Ambulance’, nor may it rank amongst ‘Vheissu’ and ‘The Alchemy Index’ as being their most lauded work.

Still, for a band to consistently churn out albums of this calibre twenty years into their career is an achievement most can only dream of, and one they should be exceedingly proud of.