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Personal Life

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Personal Life

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Quick Overview

Over the course of seven years and four LP's, The Thermals have tackled religion, politics, and death with no small amount of passion and fervor. With their fifth LP, The Thermals have battled (and perhaps even conquered!) the deepest and darkest of all popular art themes- love. Not that The Thermals
haven't sung/spoken/screamed about the wide range of emotions love produces and abuses. But never before have The Thermals devoted an entire LP to love, loss, and lies! More than an album strictly about love, Personal Life is about relationships. It's about the concept of a connection between two people -making it, breaking it, and faking it. Personal Life amounts to the indie-rock equivalent of a brilliant but ultimately doomed love affair. A beautiful, turbulent experience that will hopefully leave you wiser in the ways of love and life.
Personal Life is something of retro-technical achievement. Producer Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie, Tegan and Sara) recorded The Thermals the same way in which he produced their 2004 LP. The band was recorded live (for the most part) to tape, and the album was mixed to tape as well. The sonic care Walla gave to Personal Life assures an enjoyable listen for audiophiles (the vinyl was mastered straight from tape) as well as for the rest of us who don't care and will be listening on awful headphones and Radio Shack speakers.


After making two albums of unbridled, incredible noisy indie rock and a third album that scaled back the noise but boosted the lyrical stakes, the Thermals lost the plot on their fourth record, Now We Can See. The glossy production and clichéd rock & roll moves made it seem like the band was off the rails for good, but luckily for fans of the band’s energy and outlook, their fifth album Personal Life is a welcome comeback. Thanks to Chris Walla's simple production and a batch of catchy, emotionally powerful songs that mostly drop the preachiness of the previous album for a more personal approach, the band seems to have found their way again. A handful of songs that sound like indie rock mixtape highlights, lyrics that define angst-ridden, and Hutch Harris's way-out-front vocals are all trademark Thermals, but the group’s sometimes overbearing sound is tempered by some restraint this time out. Though temperance (sonically and lyrically) may not be what fans of the group’s early work may be looking for, as the band matures it’s better to see them going in a stripped-down and thoughtful direction rather than a bland and uninteresting one. Besides, Harris, bassist Kathy Foster and drummer Westin Glass make restraint work for them anyway by sounding like they are straining to stay that way, controlling their fury and delivering their messages clearly. There’s a power in this technique that keeps you wrapped up in the album right along with the band, an easy-to-grasp immediacy and power they’ve never had before. Though they should've rocked out a couple times for some variation, Personal Life is a good example of a band growing up without growing old.

Additional Information

Artist Thermals
Track Listing 1 I'm Gonna Change Your Life - 2:59 2 I Don't Believe You - 2:38 3 Never Listen to Me - 4:30 4 Not Like Any Other Feeling - 3:34 5 Power Lies - 2:57 6 Only for You - 4:17 7 Alone, A Fool - 2:08 8 Your Love Is So Strong - 3:00 9 A Reflection - 2:37 10 You Changed My Life - 3:26

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