Friday, February 22, 2013

FDF Volume 3 Issue 294 - Thrice - The Artist In The Ambulance

Album -The Artist in the Ambulance
Artist - Thrice
Key Players – Teppei Teranishi – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals. Eddie Breckenridge – bass. Riley Breckenridge – drums. Dustin Kensrue – Lead vocals, guitars

Produced By – Brian McTernan

Release Date – July 22, 2003

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I am not even really sure to be honest. Sometimes when you are unsure of the last time you listened is usually the indication.

Overview – This is the third full length album (and first on a major label) for Irvine California band “Thrice”. Formed in 1998, the band would make a name for itself with hard, fast and sometimes complex songs. As the band grew in popularity they began to donate a fair amount of their revenue towards a charity. Each albums charity would go to a different place (this record in particular went towards a breast cancer fund). The albums would actually peak at #16 on the Billboard top 200 chart and the band would begin to play larger concert venues.

FDF Comments (aka the songs). As a note since Eddie and Riley share the same last name I'll use their first names when needed in this section.

Twelve tunes in under 40 minutes is always a good sign if you are looking for a speedy and rowdy record. Opening with “Cold Cash and Colder Hearts” the band sets the tone. The guitars are bright, but the bass and drums find the deep groove. Kensrue as a strong voice with a decent enough range to battle the music with him. Teranishi is solid on his guitar and complements the playing Kensrue has been doing. Kensrue barks himself nearly hoarse but they end as a string section seems to play it out.
“Under A Killing Moon” gets things right back to the rocking mood. Riley is quick across his kit on some of the fills and the band seems to be all together. If they are anything to this point, they are tight.  “All That's Left” is Riley alone before the guitar come in and it then takes off. When the band all comes in it hits pretty hard and Riley really hits them hard. Kensrue and Teranishi share some vocals to fill out the chorus, and parts of the verses as well. For the first time you really seem to hear Eddie in the mix as “Silhouette” begins. You get those big chugging riffs at the start before the vocals begin. The tempo doesn't match the intensity as much as you'd think, but it holds up fine. Eddie gets a work out again on “Stare At The Sun” working all over his bass. The guitars all come in nice and Kensrue has a particularly strong feel to his voice. Teranishi compliments Kensrue on the vocals nicely. The intro to “Paper Tigers” is sort of the feel that the whole record should have. Its just that mix of heavy, but a solid stroke of melody. Kensrue is angry at something as he seems to have an even heavier howl to his voice, but the guys play along. This is a hard one. (oddly enough its the first track with notable keyboard work). Eddie and Riley get to work in tandem as “Hoods On Peregrine” begins to swell. Kensrue and Teranishi then come in, but everyone pulls back some as the vocals start. “The Melting Point of Wax” has a similar vibe “Blood Clots and Black Holes” with the great swirling and grinding guitars and the band takes off. The guitars are really the focus on this and then Eddie and Riley take it over. The track has the continued urgency of prior tracks. The title track follows (“The Artist In The Ambulance”) and its similar. Riley opens up “The Abolition of Man” and we get that rolling along. He is the focus here, just hammering at his kit but late in the song we get a short guitar break down and Kensrue just really gets angry. Its a frantic ending. The album concludes with “Don't Tell And We Won't Ask”. A solid closer that keeps the same speed and tenacity of the prior tracks, they go out on a high note.

Where are they now? - The band released their last studio album (Major Minor) in 2011 and they did tour for it. During that tour the band announced they'd be taking a hiatus “as a full time band”. They'd play a final show in May 2012 and the set list was chosen by fans. A live record was also released in 2012.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I have never seen the band live.

FDF Overall Take – Its a pretty solid “rock” record. There are no flashy solos or extended jams, its pretty much straight at you. Soundtrack for an X-Game clip or the like is where this style of music falls for me personally. That is not a bad thing, just think of any extreme sports video you've seen and the music from this record could easily be used.


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