The Thermals: The Body The Blood The Machine (Sub Pop)
Smart pop-punk with biblical themes. Recorded by Portland duo Kathy Foster and Hutch Harris. Punk rock Sunday school? Standard slick punk power chord rock in vein of the Ramones, with vox somewhere between the Hold Steady and Mountain Goats, but w/ more energy + adolescence angst. Consistent sound throughout album. Nothing too special instrumental-wise, but the reliance on the vox keeps them fairly interesting. Not religious music…just uses the stock stories to attack the government, but more tongue-in-cheek than Amps for Christ, see? I can’t tell where the irony ends and the sincerity begins. This is anti-government at best; at worst, anti-Judeo-Christian (which would be kinda trite). Why is this more convincing than Greenday’s American Idiot (besides the obvious MTV leanings of GD)? Right mix of lyrical subtlety/instrumental straightforwardness? I dunno…listen and see why this works better. All tracks are playable, although some sound awfully similar. 1, 4, 7, 8 are best. FCC clean, as far as I could tell.
1) 2:28 – sweet summary of the New + Old Testament/rise of fascism; chorus a reply to Sex Pistol’s taunt “no future for you”? I dunno. God as Big Brother? Fast power chords.
2) 2:27 – story of Exodus/Abraham+Isaac/submission to authority. Slower rocker.
3) 3:36 – medium speed punk. Sing-shout vox. Simple electric guitar solo.
4) 2:57 –song about Lot’s family fleeing Sodom + Gomorrah/Tower of Babel legend. Poppy, catchy guitar melody.
5) 2:39 – repetitive, rhythmic pop rock. Hmm…God is supposed to be Big Brother after all.
6) 3:27 – slower, more muted than other tracks. Gentle + clean guitar solo.
7) 3:34 – medium tempo, cool lyrics, some screeching guitar.
8) 4:47 – starts with feedback + strumming. Noah’s ark + holocaust. Driving power chord down strokes + cymbal smashing.
9) 5:14 – medium rocker. A little boring by the end.
10) 4:38 – up-beat apocalypse song. Guitar drops out and reenters around 2:20. Cool freak-out with distortion 1:30 from the end. Yay for noise! Yay for the end of the world!