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Thrice - Beggars (Cover Artwork)

Thrice

Thrice: BeggarsBeggars (2009)
Vagrant Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


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

It's weird to re-discover a band years and years after you discovered them. I saw Thrice on their first east coast tour, opening for Alkaline Trio and Hot Water Music at an incredibly vacant Worcester Palladium in Massachusetts. My friend and I commented how they looked like, and sounded like, wo.
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It's weird to re-discover a band years and years after you discovered them.

I saw Thrice on their first east coast tour, opening for Alkaline Trio and Hot Water Music at an incredibly vacant Worcester Palladium in Massachusetts. My friend and I commented how they looked like, and sounded like, wolves. Fierce, howling creatures that cared not for the daylight. I picked up The Illusion of Safety shortly after its release and was hooked. Their previous effort, Identity Crisis is solid in its own right, but it seemed that Safety was where the band had reached a perfect mix of melodic hardcore, emotion and alternative rock to soothe the ears of a broad spectrum of listeners.

Since then, Thrice has been involved in a series of projects: a rather radio-friendly release on Island that has some superior tracks and some forgettable; an ambitious and underrated art-rock record; and an even more ambitious yet incredibly flawed four-disc Alchemy Index series that promised much but failed to truly differentiate between its four 'elements.'

And so now there is Beggars, a 10-song amalgam of just about everything this band has created, pushed a bit to a point just short of radio-friendly but not so artsy to be isolating. It's like a great drink; it's subtle and you're not sure of it at first, because it lacks the muster of the rail booze that hits you right off. You can't compare it to anything certainly beyond it, but for what it is, it settles right.

And pretty soon, you're fucking plastered. And you wake up and the hangover is glorious, you take two aspirin and you start drinking again.

One standout point of this album is how fucking groovy it is. Literally. The record has this weird dance-ready beat to it: From the opening drum and minor bass beats of "All the World Is Mad" to the hook of "Doublespeak," you're intoxicated by these heavy beats that keep your head weaving through melody.

Lyricist Dustin Kensrue has always been on point. Although always incorporating elements of Christianity (and this record is no exception), there's nothing alienating to those who might not share his faith (or lack thereof). The ambiguity of songs such as "In Exile" might relate to wandering souls such as myself or people finding reason through St. Augustine.

The production on Beggars is probably the most prominent reason it takes some getting used to; the stripped-down feel to the album keeps the elements of it separate. The vocals take some getting used to and the guitar tones seem light. The album almost feels like the points of a star: five tracks pushed each to their limit, brought together into a shape between some invisible connections. But in the end, it somehow mysteriously works.

I loved The Illusion of Safety and though I admired Thrice's efforts through Vheissu and The Alchemy Index artistically, they seemed to never quite hit their mark of creating the brilliance they set out to. I think with Beggars they've done it, but only in a way that you'll realize if you really listen. On some fronts it's almost a dismissible record; thoughts like "He screamed better on 'The Red Death' than 'Talking Through Glass'" might spring to mind. But put these aside and keep the record on for a few more nights. Give this drink another chance.

I guess what excites me most about the album is the title track. The epic finale gives so much anticipation to what is coming; the ending tidal waves of sound only embrace the listener in a calm threat, almost a contained rage. Thrice has taken their early years and sculpted art from the leftovers of their sonic explosions of youth. Take note, for this will be in many end of the year lists.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundAlkaline Trio - This AddictionThe Flatliners - CavalcadeThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThrice - The Illusion of SafetyAlkaline Trio - Maybe I'll Catch FireThe Clash - London CallingPolar Bear Club - Sometimes Things Just DisappearAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitPropagandhi - Supporting Caste

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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.
stuxmusic (July 4, 2012)

Meh. One great song surrounded by B-Side rejects.

wyzo (October 4, 2009)

I never really liked Thrice's earlier records. When they were beginning to get popular, it was somewhat unexpected for me, and I figured they would be gone in a few years or just another run of the mill band on the next warped tour for a decade.

So it has been interesting to see myself slowly with their major label records not mind them sticking around, then when Vheissu came out of nowhere I started wondering if it was a fluke, a nice one, I absolutely love that record, but a one time lucky one off a band managed to pull. With the Alchemy Indexes, I thought they essentially got a lot out of their system. I think they aren't amazing, they don't equal Vheissu's density, but overall they are enjoyable listens, and I am a sucker for prolificness (J Church's One Mississippi, for instance had me at '26 tracks' [prolificness requirement #828: quantity of work can't be inflated by joke songs, audio interludes, or tossaway filler]).

So I had a pretty humble expectation for Beggars. I wanted to know if the Thrice that suddenly had demanded I not ignore them had become one more career band with artsy intentions that will now fizzle. Lacking the sheer output of the 4 EP's, could they return to a single album format and compete against their own Vheissu whallop.

Beggars is happily it's own record, but very much the same band that made Vheissu. The tones and mix scream Vheissu, but I couldn't see any of these songs 'fitting' on that records progression and themes and sounds.

I don't think it is important to label any of this album as christian, as I don't and while some influences are clearly from that background, I don't think it is necessary to enjoy a communication of feeling and experience to be concerned with it's membership. This record doesn't proselytize. I can relate and immerse myself in the topics and emotions and textures simply because I'm a human. You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy Darren Aronofsky's work, nor convert to learn and respond to a Godspeed you black emperor record.

thatsyouth (September 27, 2009)

This makes no sense. Why would you just NOW be saying "They went from Identity to this?" You could have said that about Artist and on. If this album was that much of a shock to you, then you must not have listened to Vheissu or Alchemy at all. Sure, this album is different, but what album of theirs hasn't been?

telegraphrocks (September 23, 2009)

I like paulrulzdood, and I apologize for being a tool to everyone in this review...

...but I still hate this album.

paulrulzdood (September 23, 2009)

oh wait i'm 29. sorry, i'm just trying on the "i'm 30" thing 6 months in advance. it'sn ot so bad.

paulrulzdood (September 23, 2009)

there's no need to feel down telegraph rocks...look on the brightside

1. you only wasted 9.99 on it...that's not so bad. that's like 2 or 3 beers at the bar, or 1.5 extra valu meals. at least this album didn't just convert itself into pee or poo. it can instead collect dust on your shelves and maybe be appreciated by your children someday.

2. teenage bottlerocket came out last Tuesday too. if you picked it up on new release day, then at least you should be stoked on it.

good to hear you buying physical copies on release day. i do the same. i'm also 30. downloading, legally or illegally, just doesn't do it for me like going to the store does. plus, sometimes i forget what i've downloaded and will buy an album off iTunes and seriously forget i own it.

telegraphrocks (September 22, 2009)

And I also used to be a fan of these guys.
How early did this album leak? Two months or something? I didn't download it, I waited, and I BOUGHT the fucking thing this past week.
I have every fucking right to be bitter when discussing the biggest waste of my money this year, not to mention complete disappointment in a band I really used to be into.

I tried to get back to buying albums on release day and hearing them for the first time that way, and it's biting me in the ass.
Thank "god" for leaks... I definitely should've streamed this garbage first...

telegraphrocks (September 22, 2009)

I'm bitter, and 30.
This album is garbage.

Get screwed, thatsyouth.

thatsyouth (September 22, 2009)

telegraphrocks...

Really? How old are you? This sounds like the attitude of a bitter 15 year old.

paulrulzdood (September 22, 2009)

Telegraph Rocks, (disclaimer, i'm not a huge fan of this album):

how do you go from Identity Crisis to this? easy, it's called time and maturation. Are you the same dude you were 10 years ago? Do you still love all the same music? Same TV shows? You haven't evolved your artistic tastes at all in the past decade?

because to think Thrice would stay on the road of metal-punk ala Identity Crisis is to assume they have not changed as people or artists in 10 years.

now some bands pull that off and some stagnate as a result, but other bands, especially bands that find their success young, will change drastically throughout their career.

i mean, Thrice were teenagers when they wrote Identity Crisis. they were young dudes probably really into metal and skate-punk.

now they're 30ish. Dustin is married. they've changed. they're obviously a lot more into folk now so that's the tip they're on. it just happens. you can't expect 30 year old Thrice to play the same style of music as 19 year old Thrice. if they did they would be Pennywise, making the same album over and over for a niche of hardcore fans. Thrice try to reach a broader audience and that's just not the type of musicans they are.

colin (September 22, 2009)

for what it's worth, i'm drinking whiskey right now.

i guess i should have said "i just don't drink beer. but i drink all other kinds of liquor."

stevejonestherealbones (September 21, 2009)

colin,

dante is right this time, your opinion is wrong. vodka is so gross, beer and bourbon/whiskey is where its at.

youre review got me interested though i think im going to go pick this up tomorrow

- jones the bones

- stevejones@jones.jones.come

eatdogs (September 21, 2009)

hmm, after listening to daisy then this i think daisy wins. but still this is pretty good and not as bad many of you seem to think.

telegraphrocks (September 21, 2009)

No! Fucking seriously!
How the fuck do you go from Identity Crisis to this?

telegraphrocks (September 21, 2009)

So I just finally tried listening to this thing.

Jesus. Fuck.

You fucking hipster art student alcoholics like this crap?
Not one fucking song seemed tolerable.

This makes Vheissu look like gold.

HB_Dad (September 21, 2009)

Decent album but by far Thrice's worst! The first track is promising, the parts of the second song that sound like Thrice (the chorus) are good. However, what really seems to have happened is Dustin has turned into some folk-rock/coffe-shop enthusiast and seemingly dragged the band down with him. This all seemed to have started with the Alchemy Index volume 4. I really wish they would've continues with the epicness and heaviness displayed on Vheissu which grew on me as being their best album. This new CD grew on me for a short bit and has now lost my interest. Its hard not to listen to this CD and zone out while thinking about how much better they used to be. I fear their next album...

druhol (September 21, 2009)

Pretty fantastic record, but am I alone in thinking that 'The Weight' is (lyrically, anyway) basically a hard-rock 'Never Gonna Give You Up'?

MyStereoHasMono (September 21, 2009)

band is shitty. move along.

Dante3000 (September 21, 2009)

eff that. beer is so gross. maybe it's just 'cause i'm one of those oddly skinny people but i can only drink one beer until i'm full. meanwhile i can drink like a pint of vodka in a night.

I'd be skinny too if I drank like that. Mostly from the vomiting and inability to eat the next day. I'm a lightweight. At least it's cheap.
-Dante

paulrulzdood (September 21, 2009)

i've only listened to this 3 times so i haven't fully articulated or formed my opinion of it but...here's my thoughts after 3 listens:

1. sonically and stylistically, this reminds me most of Alchemy Index vol. III & IV more than anything else in their cataloge. I'm kind of bummed about that, because I preferred Alchemy Index I & II. But, I've also been a Thrice fan long enough to know they never give you the same album twice and they have been known to change pretty drastically between albums.

2. the sparse and lo-fi production takes some getting used to, but gives the album a very live & organic feel as compared to "artist" or "Vhissu"

3. "the weight" is by far my favorite track, and one of the best ode's to dedication & love they've written to date. awesome chorus.

4. the middle of the album lags a bit and I find it boring so far. But the first 3 tracks and the last 3 tracks are really outstanding.

5. lyrically, it is very strong, as always and Dustin's vocals are very good. he doesn't scream as much as he used to, but their music has also gotten considerably less heavy and metal/hardcore influenced with each release, so people shouldn't really be expecting that anymore.

as of now it is probably my least favorite Thrice ablum to date, but it might grow on me.

rozmantic (September 21, 2009)

This album is like a tranquilizer, it puts me to sleep. Then I have nightmares of Thrice turning into Coldplay. Wait...They did!

xshoutoutx (September 21, 2009)

haha, i can't believe people still listen to this shit!

score is for middle school and people who refuse to mature.... and people who still believe in post-obit pearly, golden gates... and people who drink vodka.

at least whiskey dude.

colin (September 20, 2009)

eff that. beer is so gross. maybe it's just 'cause i'm one of those oddly skinny people but i can only drink one beer until i'm full. meanwhile i can drink like a pint of vodka in a night.

Dante3000 (September 20, 2009)

Yeah, I gotta be honest, I've called Colin a douche plenty of times but I don't really feel that pertains to this review. It's not bad.
However, your opinion of vodka versus beer is wrong. Yes, your opinion is wrong.
-Dante

thereddeath (September 20, 2009)

Amazing record, gave me chills I haven't felt from Thrice since listening to Illusion of Safety.

Jesusrocker (September 20, 2009)

I don't think my mother, nor Thrice, nor their mothers would appreciate that kind of talk. Jerk.

telegraphrocks (September 20, 2009)

Hey, Jesus... score's for your mother's pussy. That ancient whore is amazing!!!

Jesusrocker (September 20, 2009)

I like this band cuz the singer is christian and you people cussing need to realize that and wtch your mouths please k? thx

colin (September 20, 2009)

like i've mentioned, i just didn't hear that much difference in 3 and 4. plus they bored the fuck out of me. i can hear the differences in 1 and 2 vs the rest, but even then i didn't think they were very good.

xIxKilledxJesusx (September 20, 2009)

by the way, how can you think all 4 elements sound the same? the 2 most similar sounding ones were water and air but even then there is a pretty significant difference

OverDefined (September 20, 2009)

"take your shitty review back to pitchfork"

Ptichfork reviews annoy me as much as the next guy but I don't see it here. Sticking to a metaphor through a whole review is hard to do, but this one is pretty far from pretentious.

bikeage (September 20, 2009)

take your shitty review back to pitchfork

Consider_the_ravens (September 20, 2009)

Although i enjoy the alchemy series more this is definitely the second best thrice album. in exile and the weight are the best songs

hubitcherkokov (September 20, 2009)

with the alchemy stuff, i don't think they all sound the same. i think the 3rd and 4th had too little difference to really justify the whole thing. also the first two parts, while ambitious, were lacking.

I just don't get where you're not hearing differences. Although I personally feel the music on Air and Earth was mo' different, the production on each (and Fire and Water) was so different and there are so many cool subtleties specific to each EP to distinguish one from the other. What's even more impressive is that these were the first Thrice releases they produced themselves.

MacbethMystery (September 20, 2009)

I thought that Supporting Caste was going to be my album of the year until I heard of PBC releasing a new record in September. From that point I was looking forward to Chasing Hamburg which turned out to be somewhat disappointing compared to PBC's previous stuff.

'Beggars', though, tops anything I've heard this year. Push the sound of all pre-Vheissu records aside and simply consume Beggars. Consume the incredible, truly incredible, song-writing. The melodies are absolutely insane.
Even though I don't hold religion in high regard, Dustin's references to Christianity leave enough space for individual interpretation, which is great for an Agnostic like me.
The art-work (black-and-white photographs that are supposed to reflect the lyrics in a sense) matches the pervasive sentimentality of the album.

Frankly, I consider this album both the best Thrice have ever done and also a very strong contender for my album of year list.

SydBarrett420 (September 20, 2009)

NO NO NO

This album is background that is only good for inducing a coma.

I'm so sick of the "they are growing as a band" excuse too. The fact is this band has gotten extremely boring with their music and now completely sucks. The things that made this band good (Teppei's (sp?) guitar work) are totally gone now.

Thrice has turned into an even worse abomination that what Thursday has become and thats saying a lot.

colin (September 20, 2009)

the redder the better is alright. i just can't get into them. too slow for what they play. live they're pretty decent though.

mikexdude (September 20, 2009)

See colin, you were my man until you brought Polar Bear Club into this.

colin (September 20, 2009)

I feel like I should preface this by saying I'm really not trying to be a dick, but there's some stuff I don't just disagree with, but think is flat-out wrong (no difference between the Alchemy EPs), stuff that literally means nothing (the closing paragraph), and I feel like you're pandering too much to the people that normally post on the site with the alcohol parallel.

with the alchemy stuff, i don't think they all sound the same. i think the 3rd and 4th had too little difference to really justify the whole thing. also the first two parts, while ambitious, were lacking.

pandering to alcoholics isn't my thing. i like to drink but i honestly don't give a shit about the fact people here are like into PBR. i drink vodka, fuck beer. i also don't like polar bear club.

the closing paragraph is opinion? so i think it belongs in a review, i don't know though. i'm pretty drunk at this point.

tidalslumber (September 20, 2009)

Die, Colin!!!

LeightonESmith (September 20, 2009)

I actually saw they east coast tour of HWM/Thrice/Alk3 as well - except it was the Australian east coast back in in early '04. Thrice were fucking amazing. So brutual and fast, the sing alongs, the moshing, the screaming - it was fucking insane. Ever since then Thrice has continually disappointed me. I can sort of swallow their progression into slower more boring atmospheric terrain but it is with bitter reluctance.
This latest album IMHO is a pile of shit. Maybe it will grow on me if ever find the inclination to listen to it again.

Blackjaw_ (September 20, 2009)

Awesome.

wallofyouth (September 20, 2009)

this discussion needs more apathy

hubitcherkokov (September 20, 2009)

I feel like I should preface this by saying I'm really not trying to be a dick, but there's some stuff I don't just disagree with, but think is flat-out wrong (no difference between the Alchemy EPs), stuff that literally means nothing (the closing paragraph), and I feel like you're pandering too much to the people that normally post on the site with the alcohol parallel.

mikexdude (September 20, 2009)

Colin, if your initial thoughts are such vivid metaphors, then I am thoroughly impressed -- you pseudo-intellectual fuckwad.

colin (September 19, 2009)

for the record i was about six drinks in when i wrote this, probably the reason for the alcoholic allegory. i'm usually drunk when i write anything for this site, though. including right now.

i'm sorry if this review is too not standard (or whatever that could mean) for you. you can always go read rolling stone. i write when i listen to an album, so generally the words i am using also are a reflection of the music i'm listening to / reviewing.

regardless, i do appreciate the negativity. if you're not pissing anyone off you're probably doing it wrong.

thepopeofchili-town (September 19, 2009)

Great review by the way, Colin. I guess crust punks just don't understand words with more than two syllables.

mikexdude (September 19, 2009)

If colin wants to be cutesy and poetic, let him. At least he actually talked about the album...

hubitcherkokov (September 19, 2009)

And this part - Thrice has taken their early years and sculpted art from the leftovers of their sonic explosions of youth.

hubitcherkokov (September 19, 2009)

No offense to the reviewer, but here's where I would justify the hate:

My friend and I commented how they looked like, and sounded like, wolves. Fierce, howling creatures that cared not for the daylight.

...Safety was where the band had reached a perfect mix of melodic hardcore, emotion and alternative rock to soothe the ears of a broad spectrum of listeners.

...Alchemy Index series that promised much but failed to truly differentiate between its four 'elements.'

It's like a great drink; it's subtle and you're not sure of it at first, because it lacks the muster of the rail booze that hits you right off.

And pretty soon, you're fucking plastered. And you wake up and the hangover is glorious, you take two aspirin and you start drinking again.

The album almost feels like the points of a star: five tracks pushed each to their limit, brought together into a shape between some invisible connections.

The epic finale gives so much anticipation to what is coming; the ending tidal waves of sound only embrace the listener in a calm threat, almost a contained rage.


I really like this record thus far.

ahopeagainsthope (September 19, 2009)

Yeah, I'm not getting all the hate for the review either. I'd have rated it a bit higher, but colin does a really good job of explaining why he rated it what he did.

thatsyouth (September 19, 2009)

Colin, this is a great fucking review. Everything said here is just 100% what I think. Only difference is that I loved Vheissu and Alchemy and thought they were mind blowing. Score is for the album AND the review.

mikexdude (September 19, 2009)

Guess I'm the only one who likes Colin. Score's for the review.

american_666_jesus (September 19, 2009)

I love their cover of Helter Skelter.

deadxlast (September 19, 2009)

I hope that's a Sunny Day Real Estate cover.

soundforlanguage (September 19, 2009)

Cover reminds me of Elliott's "If they do" EP.

colin (September 19, 2009)

glad to see i still haven't lost my touch in being able to get harangued by the punknews crowd. back to your shells, peanut gallery.

TheMarc (September 19, 2009)

Album is great. The ending of Circles gets me every time.

velvetbrass (September 19, 2009)

You guys are being way too hard on this guy. I thought the review was very good. Maybe you know something about him that I don't, but I can't find any fault here.

telegraphrocks (September 19, 2009)

And this score is for the review.

Seriously? Are you fucking serious?
This isn't a fucking review, this is the thesis of alcohol by a contrived art student.

telegraphrocks (September 19, 2009)

So, for some reason I've purchased every Thrice album. I went and got Beggars about 2 days ago without having heard any of it.
Thing is, I also bought all the Alchemy Index shit as well, and haven't put those on yet either.
So, the last thing I've heard is Vheissu, which only had 3 good songs on it.

Why do I keep buying Thrice stuff? And then why don't I listen to it?

Score's for Cobra Skulls.

xIxKilledxJesusx (September 19, 2009)

im in the minority i think when saying this, but thrice didnt get good until the alchemy index (all 4).. beggars is a solid album

tidalslumber (September 19, 2009)

Score is for the reviewer's worth as a human being.

colin (September 19, 2009)

i probably should have given this album a 9 instead of 8. i think i kept it at 8 just due to the fact that while incredibly solid, it doesn't have the same replay value i found in "illusion" (which i'd give a 9). regardless this is a shoe in for top 10 records of 2009, if not up in the top three.

velvetbrass (September 19, 2009)

This is a pretty incredible piece of work. I'm really digging the blues influence, and the songwriting is just superb. The EITS worship is always welcome. "All The World Is Mad" is one of the best songs they've ever made, but nothing will ever come close to "Hoods on Peregrine". Great review, except too much love for Vheissu, not enough for Artist.

Bryne (September 19, 2009)

I wasn't expecting this to be anything more than decent, but it's fucking great. "Doublespeak" is in the running for Song 'o The Year in these ears.

ahopeagainsthope (September 19, 2009)

This record kicks ass. Fuck anyone who doesn't think that. The title track might also be one of the best closing tracks ever.

thepopeofchili-town (September 19, 2009)

Great record, drags a little in the middle but picks it back up.

Tom_Delonge (September 19, 2009)

It's a circular narrative in many ways where it kind of sums up the human race in a time capsule.

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