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Thrice
Beggars
Vagrant Records
www.thrice.net


After releasing the incredible journey into the subconscious of a group of musicians otherwise known as The Alchemy Index, alternative geniuses Thrice had some rather large shoes to fill. But seeing as how it was THEIR shoes, it wasn't too difficult to set up another impressive collection of songs. And with the album Beggars we've all got another chance to see the next step for Thrice.

From the beginnings of Identity Crisis and filtered through to The Alchemy Index, you'd be hard pressed to find another band that has pushed as many creative and personal boundaries as this quartet. Up to Vheissu, their style was more on the focus of fast tempos, insane guitars and harsh vocals. But when The Alchemy Index made its debut, it introduced the world to a different side of Thrice. Each volume showed just a little more of exactly what they're capable of. For Beggars it feels as though the band took in the emphasis previously felt in the Water and Earth EP's. There's complete sanity here, as well as a nice selection of passion filled music.

If there was such thing as a guitar dance, I would expect it would sound something like that heard in the opening sequence of "All The World Is Mad." It may be a simplistic set of notes, but the melody in which they are played and the pairing that the bass takes with the lead is perfection. Your imagination could take the two stringed instruments in a sequence of steps circling around Dustin (lead vocals). "The Weight" is a little less like a dance and a little more like a march. The rhythm is timed just so, as though each member was reminiscing of high school band practice when writing this song. The vocals are so crisp and clear, that when the chorus comes in you feel as though your gut is wrenching right along with the words. Now, when you get down to the track "In Exile," something instantly takes you back to a time of The Alchemy Index: Earth. But with this Earth, there's a bit of a twist. The song has that same nice ambient feeling, yet its set a to a solid rock tempo, which is a bit faster than the aforementioned EP. The lyrics complete the experience when they seem to tell a story of a drifter and his struggles. If you're like me, a person who tends to lose herself in certain music, then you're going to lose yourself in "The Great Exchange." The instrumental elements are so light and delicate, that though they carry the song, they fail to ever overpower. And finally with the vocals set at lullaby level, everything is perfectly balanced. The album ends with the title track and though this is actually a pretty uncommon place for the track, it's quite fitting for these boundary pushers. If blues is what you want, blues is what you'll get with this final number. Blues done Thrice style that is. Full of hurt and angst, the song peers through, complete with both long drawn and brutal sneering guitar chords. The song may come in soft and sweet, but it sure gnarls its way out at the end.

After just over 43 minutes, the appreciation for Thrice and their music grows just a little bit more. They're a band that has a distinct sound, yet they never make the same album twice. It's as though they take some of the elements from pervious albums and either build from them or learn from them. Either way Beggars is definitely one for the Thrice collection.

-Rachel Fredrickson

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