The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine
If you’ve been listening to The Thermals’ earlier work, you have probably noticed the striking Nirvana-esque grunge influence on their music (i.e. "How We Know"). Following that train of thought: The Body, The Blood, The Machine is a striking mix of In Utero and Nevermind. Not wholly pop, The Thermals wrap obvious religious and political themes around their grunge instrumentals—thus hinting at the depth found within In Utero. Throughout the album, The Thermals consistently bring up religion in an arguably sarcastic, albeit honestly lost tone. In "Returning to the Fold," for example, Hutch Harris sings of blistering doubt and discontent, but finishes with "But I still have faith / If I ever had faith / Wait for me / Wait for me." Furthermore, in "Pillar of Salt," Harris shouts "That’s why we’re escaping / So we won’t have to die, we won’t have to deny / Our dirty God, dirty bodies." The need and desire for escape is an overbearing theme of the album. The majority of the songs mention escaping, and even the liner notes declare "ATTENTION ESCAPISTS!!!" Yet, past all this religious and political questioning and satire is the damnably catchy Thermals. "Here’s Your Future" and "Pillar of Salt" are the two strongest pop tracks off the record. Both clock in at just about 2 minutes, 30 seconds, and contain the delicious grunge instrumentals. Quick and dirty melodies wrap themselves around Harris’ unique voice in a way that gets you moving, despite and even in spite of the harsh religious satire held within the lyrics. This healthy mix of depth and pop melds that of In Utero and Nevermind, but in a way that’s more detached from grunge than any of their previous albums. The Thermals have carved a new road for themselves, and it will be very interesting to see where it takes them.
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on 2007-01-29 christopherdrew Said:
I've got a soft spot for noisy power-pop, and 'Pillar Of Salt' sucked me right in, especially with the line, "We run in the dark/ A giant fist is out to crush us"; after the initial listen, however, I found that most of the songs,while nice enough, started to drift towards forgettable. Key tracks: 'Here's Your Future', 'Pillar Of Salt', 'Our Power Doesn't Run On Nothing' and 'I Hold The Sound' - the rest just don't stand up for me.
Still, a fun album. Not bad. is that too wishy-washy? Sorry...