The Thermals Now We Can See

The Thermals Now We Can See
Following the fierce critique of organized religion that characterized their fantastic third album, The Body, The Blood, and the Machine, the Thermals have taken a much more low-key approach with Now We Can See. Switching from powerhouse Sub Pop to slightly smaller powerhouse Kill Rock Stars, the band are still toeing the line between pop and punk but have mostly edged out the preachy nature of their last album. The result is an album that shows the band settling into their sound, letting songwriting and musical ideas take the wheel. Opener "When I Died" is a perfect example of this, letting Hutch Harris's vocal croon and slowed-down guitar riffs make way for an impossibly perfect, simple lead guitar that massages the eardrums in the best way possible. It's the finest moment of the album and it happens right off the bat, but it's also a fitting starter before the anthemic punk of "When We Were Alive," the stomping rhythm of "When I Was Afraid" and the piano-accented power pop of "You Dissolve." On Now We Can See, the Thermals have not reinvented themselves or outdone themselves; they've simply released another collection of solid, well-crafted songs and no one's complaining (Kill Rock Stars)