Roughly two decades into Thrice’s career the Orange County quintet has come full circle with an EP that shares the sentiment of their debut album Identity Crisis. Companion piece to 2018’s Palms, the Deeper Wells EP is a collection of four songs by a band masterfully weaving through genres without sacrificing their DNA.The Record Store Day exclusive (now available everywhere digitally) kicks off at break neck speed with “Deeper Wells”, a sonic love note to Minor Threat that’s easily the fastest, grittiest track they’ve released since the early aughts. The aural assault continues with “A Better Bridge”, a call to arms to those hesitant to extend an olive branch to their fellow man. The muddy neck pickup tug of war against Teppei Teranishi’s clean guitar work are the perfect foil over Riley Breckenridge’s tight choppy drumming. Riley deserves the giants share of recognition for his ever-inspired playing. The nuances of his beats are never phoned in. Whether it be the heavy hi hat work or the slight of hand amidst what could have been a stock rhythm, he keeps a cerebral approach that serves the song whilst managing to never repeat himself.
The EP downshifts with every track. The mathy swing of “In This Storm” showcases Thrice’s musicianship before reminding you how riff heavy they can still be. Finally, “Stumbling West” closes the album with a Chris Issac vibe that, even without the signature throaty bass tone, is a reminder of how much Eddie Breckenridge can successfully carry the weight (pun intended) with little to no help.
For what’s been offered as a companion piece, I’m slightly perplexed by the sonic differences in the mix. Deeper Wells is a much more garage rock recording. Palms, while a dryer production approach more so than any other in their catalogue, still has a sheen to the edges that Deeper Wells doesn’t. I can only assume this is intentional since it’s consistent across the four tracks, perhaps to add to the allure of the Record Store Day vinyl exclusivity of the release.
Production discrepancies aside, it’s easy to see why these songs warranted their own release. They’re not throwaway B-sides by any means, but to pepper them into Palms would distort the intended vision. Never mind the similarities between the final two Wells tracks and “Beyond The Pines” and “My Soul”, respectively. To make a 14 track sequence that made sense was an impossible task that even the band challenged fans to theorize to no avail. The success of the EP speaks to the success of the sessions as a whole. If Dustin Kensrue requires two releases to poetically remind us that we can repair societies fractures through simple positive gestures, why start questioning him now?