the thermals personal life
  • FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2010

  • Posted by: Joe Puglisi

On Personal Life, The Thermals seem less angry at the establishment, or perhaps more concerned with their own relationships and romances. It's a literally named album. Hutch Harris spends the majority of the time thinking his thoughts, and the band provides their trademark punk-y backup. It's got all of the sound and none of the God-mongering stuff, which makes it slightly more bearable for people who don't exactly gravitate towards the musical megaphone of political science. My own thoughts mostly concern the lack of politics being worth the lack of conviction. But is that really even the case? 2006's The Body, The Blood, The Machine is often cited as the most enraged of their offerings... it's a biting criticism of organized religion, and it happens to be many people's first (or strongest) impression of the band. After a muted outing with a different producer, Harris and the gang are wise to return to Chris Walla, the man who established their original breakout sound on 2004's F*ckin A. So the overall sound of the record speaks to the band's tastes, rather than whatever happened last time around (Now We Can See sounded like a Thermals record, sure, but something was missing). So if anything, Personal Life is genuinely fun. But one record of passive material isn't enough to call the follow-up a return to form, especially when some people don't share my view that Now We Can See was a blurry account of the band's sound. But Personal Life feels more real, and as difficult to prove as that claim is, the tracks themselves might hold all the necessary evidence. The songs are brisk, poppy, and move with an always enjoyable bounce. Gone are the irate yells of immediate destruction, but they are replaced with something a little more introspective, and no less exciting. Not to mention the often overlooked fact that The Body wasn't all cries of God and terror, in fact change the lyrics to a few songs and you might be able to mistake them for Personal Life tunes. Harris is just as excited as he's ever been. Instead of God, it's the second person... relationships, love, whatever. He is still shouting about it.
* * * * * * * * * * * * MP3: "I Don't Believe You" The Thermals on Myspace
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