The Thermals

Now We Can See

Written by: PP on 27/02/2010 18:38:31

February is usually the month when I scour some of the popular music sites in the US for great releases in the past year that, for some reason, have passed me by unnoticed. One of those releases is "Now We Can See" by The Thermals, which appeared on a considerable number of "best of 2009" lists, which has been providing me a healthy dose of lo-fi indie rock for the duration the month.

With a garage production similar to The White Stripes, a vocalist/songwriter with the story telling talent of Crag Finn (The Hold Steady), indie rock quirkiness akin to recently reformed Pavement, and plenty of punk undertones embedded into their layered sound, The Thermals impress the listener with simple sing along ballads like "When I Died", "We Were Sick" and "Now We Can See". These are all tracks that refuse to leave your consciousness after just a couple of listens, to the extent that I even had a night-long dream where "We Were Sick" was the background music during my adventures. You should also be able to detect some The Hives-esque bouncy riffing here and there, and why not even The Strokes influence in places, but on the whole, The Thermals possess a unique, noisy sound that's difficult to directly compare to anyone else. Ballads are no problem either as you'll see on the quiet "At The Bottom Of The Sea" and the emotionally charged "Liquid In, Liquid Out", and you've even got the odd old school garage punk tune in "When We Were Alive".

Speaking of emotionally charged, that's exactly how singer Hutch Harris delivers his simple lyrical theme of "songs from when we were alive". With a bit of gruff and gravel adding texture to his clean singing style, it's easy to fall in love with the guy, especially when his choruses are as infectious as they are. Combined with the noisy soundscape that has been left wonderfully unpolished, the trio comes across as a passionate, intense musical experience that proves why sometimes, you don't need to be experimental or complex in your songwriting in order to write great songs. Don't miss this one.


Download: We Were Sick, When I Died, I Called Out Your Name
For the fans of: The Hold Steady, Pavement, The Hives, The White Stripes
Listen: Myspace

Release date 07.04.2009
Kill Rock Stars

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