The Thermals are an old-school punk-rock band, their tracks bursting with a sense of abandon. The Portland trio have been doing this for years, so all the elements (howled vocals, guitars to put a smile on your face) are perfectly in place; time hasn’t dulled their thrill though. Available on CD, or in a clear vinyl edition that is limited to just 400 copies. Out on Saddle Creek
7/10 Robin Staff review, 22 March 2016
Aw. I’m most pleased about this. The Thermals are sweet and nasal and all things reassuring, and when they release albums it means you can stop using the Front Bottoms as their replacement bus. A trio I often thank for the board meeting that brought together indie rawk and pop-punk -- alongside the less successful Superchunk -- they’ve long made cosy records that really make true on the whole ‘comfort in noise’ thing. Their their guitar tones always feel a split hair from home, while the feedback usually comes with a pleasant crunch that likens it to rain outdoors while you’re in.
‘We Disappear’ is a lovely, understated record with the usual “oh oh oh!” harmonies placed raucously in delicate lo-fi. “My Heart Went Cold” shows the band acknowledging the little things amidst their bigger sound, with a little fret-crackling guitar part combining with a soothing bassline in-between the usual lyrical whinge and heady amplification. Good chord sequences are also present, and in fact “Hey You” sounds as wilfully cheesy as new era Weezer, but coated in cymbal-smashes and distortion so that you feel nothing but happy hearing it.
Listening to a Thermals record in 2016 is kinda weird, considering how much their sound traces a 2008-2009 era of Americana indebted punk music -- “If We Don’t Die Today” sounds reminiscent of Nicest Rock Band Ever the Weakerthans, with its twanging guitar bleeding into the fuzz like we never moved on. But it doesn’t jar me, nor does it put me off, listening to ‘We Disappear’ -- this is just a nice record coming up to you and saying “hey” and you can commit as much conversation to it as you want. It’s a real nice catch up.
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- We Disappear by The Thermals
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