April 10, 2003

Test Spin: The Thermals

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Imagine, if you will, the Modern Rock High School, where the hottest trends and cliques are as fickle as an Ithaca spring. You have the ‘in crowd’ (Interpol), exchange students (The Hives), the “Anime club” (Linkin Park), and lastly, The Thermals, the quirky freshmen who just sort of keep to themselves.

These guys aren’t like Jack and Meg White; they’ll talk to you and even invite you to their shows on the block party/skating rink circuit.

Melding punk, rock, and a little lo-fi, The Thermals’ More Parts Per Million is an unintimidating, raw, fun album steered by steady drumbeats and clever guitarmanship. The minimalism of their arrangement is matched by their equally uncomplicated, fragmented lyrical style that has a way of locking itself inside your head and swallowing the key. The band’s madcap sound is topped off with vocals by the inventive Hutch Harris, whose over-articulated, nasal delivery is reminiscent of Placebo’s Brian Molko.

Averaging just two minutes per song, The Thermals pack into 30 seconds more than most bands do in five minutes. With standouts like “It’s Trivia,” “No Culture Icons,” “Time to Lose,” and “Back to Gray” and with the album clocking in at 2:40 shy of a half hour, the Thermals will leave you wanting More

Archived article by Justin Finch