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The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine (Cover Artwork)

The Thermals

The Thermals: The Body, The Blood, The MachineThe Body, The Blood, The Machine (2006)
Sub Pop Records

Reviewer Rating: 2.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The thought of the United States as governed by a fascist Christian state scares the living shit out of me. Really, it should scare the living shit out of most anyone. Oh, wait... In all seriousness, this is what the Thermals envision on their new album, The Body, The Blood, The Machine. That .
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The thought of the United States as governed by a fascist Christian state scares the living shit out of me. Really, it should scare the living shit out of most anyone.

Oh, wait...

In all seriousness, this is what the Thermals envision on their new album, The Body, The Blood, The Machine. That and the "focus on the need (and means) to escape;" while not necessarily a concept album, Machine certainly seems to depict this wild scenario, assisted by less than subtle, but no less compromising artwork.

Besides that, Fugazi staple Brendan Canty recorded the album. Sounds great, right?

...Ehhhh.

What made the Thermals so great on 2004's Fuckin A was their pure energy. I suppose it's hard to go wrong with a swear word in the album title, but that was it, really: straight up, fuzzed out, upbeat lo-fi punk songs with wild, original vocals. This is precisely what The Body, The Blood, The Machine lacks.

Absolutely dull and listless, the Thermals plod through 10 tracks about this God-controlled land set sometime in the not too distant future. Alright, so opener "Here's Your Future" is relatively reminiscent of that energy we all know the band is capable of harnessing once it kicks in, but that's it. Most everything else just sounds so disappointingly lame and lifeless -- isn't this supposed to be a scary state of affairs? Tired, tame lo-fi "power"-pop numbers just don't convey that at all. Lively keyboard blips in "A Pillar of Salt" give it a nice touch, but even there it's an incomplete effort.

It's a shame, too, because while the band is a bit vague in their descriptions of this holy land, I read them as being sung with such affection and aggression that their meaning would be conveyed perfectly; "Locusts, tornadoes / crosses and Nazi halos / they follow, they follow / / lashes and grins / ass-backwards medicines / they follow, they know" should be up-tempo, lively jaunts -- simply put, they're not. I guess if this was a concept album about a world where they've already bowed down to these Christian fascist leaders, they'd be right on.

I was really hoping for the Thermals to deliver another sleeper hit and knock everyone for another loop. They had everything set up to do just that -- they just forgot to accent the actual delivery of the presentation. What makes this disappointment all the more heartbreaking is that no one seemed to even motion towards Fuckin A when it was released. If the same happens for Machine, I have to begrudgingly admit that I can understand the reasoning.

A Pillar of Salt

STREAM
Returning to the Fold

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
champion_sound (February 27, 2012)

For sure a great record

jeremythunder (May 24, 2009)

score is for the review. this is the worst review i've read on this site, you write like a 13 year old. on a semi-related note, whats up with people liking fuckin a? i have never rated that as anything but their worst album. even the newest one is better than that incohesive thing.

GlassPipeMurder (December 10, 2006)

This album is great...I really don't get the review.

Medley (August 23, 2006)

What the hell's going on here? Pitchfork gave this album an 8! That means it's just GOTTA be good!

CallingLondon (August 23, 2006)

oh man fuckin a was such a great album. sure it was kinda one big song, but the pure energy and passion, feels like what it must have felt like to see teh ramones play for the first time in CBGBs. similarily the lyrics are the same kind of "thoughtful disguised as retarded" lyrics the ramones had. i will definitely give this new one a fair chance. Also I saw this band perform at coney island 2 years ago and that's what got me hooked on them. great fucking show.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

the first ep was the best... the first full length was right behind that...

elguapo (August 22, 2006)

this album punches douche-arms in the neck

maverick (August 22, 2006)

Everything I would've said about this disc Brian said above. Just didn't do it like Fuckin' A did.

-Scott

steveman (August 22, 2006)

I actually just got this album today because I knew they were touring with Cursive and I'd never heard them. Listened straight through twice and I'd say it's pretty damn good. I can't compare it to their older stuff though.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

the score is for the review. How are you sensing a lack of energy on this disc? I think this is the Thermals at their best. They actually show some musical growth while keeping the same feel of their old stuff.

Best Thermals disc so far.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

hey, yeah. maybe itll be better if they just release fuckin' a 40 times in a row. that should show some musical growth.

review aside, this album kicks ass. "test pattern", "returning to the fold", and "st. rosa and the swallows" are three of the best songs they have written. only one weak track on the entire album.

IvanZazu (August 22, 2006)

The only negative review I have read so far.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

this is easily the thermals best record yet.

give it time, reviewer.

Anonymous (August 22, 2006)

So that episode of South Park where Cartman makes a Christian rock album was just on.

BrendanKelly (August 22, 2006)

lame.

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