Punk Rock Does It Better.
After what is considered by many to be a “healthy” hiatus, Thrice has returned with their ninth and, it must be said, most political album ever, To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere. During the hiatus, many band members settled down and propagated, making it harder for individual members to spend time away from their family and working on the album. To work around their families’ schedules, the band tried something a little different this time, using file-sharing platforms and shooting demos over the internet to work on and write the music for the album. While some band member have stated this was a little harder for them as they preferred to jam, Dustin Kensrue has stated it allowed for extra time and creativity.
To that effect, the album surprisingly lacks much creativity. Sounding like an ungodly copulation of The Pixies and Sonic Youth that decided that they wanted to do a semi-soft version of punk rock, Thrice succeeds in giving up to their salivating audiences… a generic-in-nearly-every-way album. The album starts weak with tracks such as “Hurricane” and album single, “Blood On The Sand,” the latter lacking the sufficient punch in composition to really make lyrics like “But I’ve seen too much (of this fear and hate) / I’ve had enough (and I’m not afraid) / To raise a shout, to make it clear / This has to end” really work and a really repetitive sing-songy chorus that similarly brings no edge. It gets a little more accessible on the following two tracks, especially on “Wake Up,” which maintains a sort of shuffling busy groove that listeners can’t help but enjoy. The bright and shiny star here is really “Black Honey,” a song that has excellent layers of guitar melodies, steady but interesting drum work, and an explosively cool chorus section. The lyrics themselves are directed towards America’s constant meddling with other countries affairs. The subsequent song, “Stay With Me,” is also redeemable, with a rather excellent bass-line and gentle guitar work paired with echo-y background keyboard. The last three songs of the album return to a mediocre, made-for-radio air, ending the album on an unimpressive and slightly disappointing note. For the political angle, you really need to have an impassioned tone to your music, and regrettably, Thrice’s sound and lyrics fell as flat as they sounded.
There is also something to be said for the old stand-by of a bunch of guys, gals, or mix there-of meeting up at someone’s place, breaking out some instruments, and just feeling a flow, groove, or what-have you. It gives a song more soul, a more unified and powerful animus that gets the listener hyped up and excited. While the album definitely has bits of “something” from each band member, it comes together in a sort of unimpressive and forgettable collection of moments. Not angry enough to talk politics, not creative enough to be an interesting album, To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere is the equivalent of most politicians’ answers to the hard questions: it does not make any real points, but, boy, it sure looks nice. Every once in a while, it throws you a bone with how it feels, but again, it is so undertoned that you won’t really even notice. Taking the album solely for the music and cutting any political factors, it is radio friendly, worth a listen, but do not expect to suddenly change your life because you’ve had your soul shaken by the album. It would have to have some soul to even attempt that.