Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review: The Thermals - Personal Life (* * * 1/2)

The Thermals have always been more interesting than the majority of their pop-punk peers, mostly because they have so much to say about so many topics. Where their previous effort, 2009'sNow We Can See, focused on the purpose of life through the lens of death, and the two before that—2006's The Body, The Blood, The Machine and 2004's F****n A—were scathing rebukes of conservative American politics, the band’s latest turns inward, as its title might suggest, and takes a look at the complexity of relationships. “I’m gonna change your life/I’m gonna steal your soul” insists Hutch Harris on the first line of opener “I’m Gonna Change Your Life,” and somehow that kinda sums up the nature of the 32 minutes that comprise the remainder of the band’s fifth album. Looking introspectively through his cracked yet ultimately hopeful perspective, Harris proves that though his typically fiery indignation seems somewhat abated (or set aside, at least), his passion and lyricism remain a compelling combination. Less focused and less consistent perhaps than the band’s previous two albums,Personal Life may disappoint fans of Harris’s bigger statements, but the record has too many great moments to be ignored. (Continue at In Review Online. . .)