on 27 June 2009
I just have to write this review 'cause I find the previous reviews do not do justice to the band and this album. If the previous albums - including the live at the Echoplex - were always interesting and most of the time very good, this one is an absolute killer. Even with the year not even being halfway, I dare say this one is likely to become the best album of the year. The intensity of the Thermals is seldom heard and the songs on "Now we can see" are better than you can imagine.
I often read the Thermals lack originality, but I can not think of another band sounding like them. The band is said to belong to the 'garage-rock' or 'punkrock' genre, and although this is certainly true, they take an absolute unique place within this genre. The energy that flows out of the speakers doesn't come from the amplifiers or other effect equipment but entirely from the band members' playing and the songs itself. Hutch's singing matches the wonderful powertunes brilliantly and he always sounds like every single word comes straight from the heart. In the ranking of the best albums ever I feel this album belongs up there next to 'Never mind the bollocks' and although the band at a first listen may sound like punk, I wouldn't call them a punkband. A couple of years ago I was in the front row when the band members were setting up their own instruments before a concert (I wouldn't exactly see Johnny Rotten do this) and being asked if they had any T-shirts for sale, Hutch replied 'No, only free Rock and Roll'. What more can I say, that's what it is : rock and roll. But only the best you can find.
on 12 May 2009
The Thermals have now long been consistent purveyors of irrepressible garage-rock. They successfully mine a similar vein to Black Lips, only with an injection of Weezer's summery pop-punk. Nevertheless, they are rockin' garage-rock through and though, not afraid of a riff or two as heard on the title track (infectious smile, listener's own).
Like all Thermals releases, `Now We Can See' lacks immediacy, but knowledge of the catalogue and persistence allows this deceptively simple collection to become effective. There are plenty of trademark, fun time rockers all with a dark edge. `Liquid In, Liquid Out' is a good example, chronicling misspent years. A smattering of quieter, but no less appealing numbers (see `At The Bottom Of The Sea') result in an album less rousing than the debut, or `The Body, The Blood, The Machine', but one no less comfortably able.
Perhaps the Thermals have always lacked originality, but with the distinctive vocal and the charm of their if-it-ain't-broke attitude allow them to carve a deserved niche in a healthy collection.