I remember hearing about Thrice for the first time in 2007/8 with the release of The Alchemy Index Vol. 1 and 2. I thought that album was incredible in to be split into different sounds to match the elements. While I liked the album, and gathered more albums in my collection, they weren’t a band that I played over and over again.
That changed with the 2016 release of To Be Everywhere is To Be Nowhere. Thrice was coming off a hiatus where frontman Dustin Kensrue spent time writing solo material and was one of the worship leaders at Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill campuses. TBEITBN was charged with spiritual themes as well as socially conscious themes throughout, which have always been part of Thrice’s music.
With Palms, Thrice serves up 10 songs that continue their maturity, intensity, and thoughtful lyrics. Still plenty of heaviness in the music, Palms also includes a piano ballad and a harp adding to the musical pallete. There are some interesting themes present in Palms:
In the song, The Grey, Thrice sings about moving away from of a black and white understanding of the world. Kensrue sings
And my hands are open, reaching out- I’m learning how to live with doubt- I’m learning how to live with doubt- I’m learning how to lean into the grey. Cause I’ve had enough of black and white- I’ll find another way- and I will lean into the grey.
In A Branch In The River the listener envisions holding onto a tree branch in the midst of a rushing river. They are encouraged to
Let go, and let yourself be carried away. Let go of all your certainty; let go, and let yourself be carried to me.”
The songs makes me think of Kensrue’s time as a worship pastor as Mars Hill. Churches can be very black and white- even to our own detrimant. We find comfort in being certain. I believe that part of faith is knowing that we don’t have all the answers. It would be a lot easier if life was black and white- but faith is faith because we lean in the grey.
Using Your Voice
The song The Dark seems to be a song about speaking up for those without a voice and/or acting on behalf of those in need as well as speaking against those who abuse power. We can choose to live “in the dark” and plead ignorance about what is going on around us the plights of people in our community and world. Kensrue and Thrice sing
“We’re not gonna stop ’cause we’ve seen a world worth fighting for. Ready of not- together we’re kicking down the door. And we’re not gonna sit in the dark anymore.”
Hold Up The Light is the most anthemic song on the album. The song takes place in the midst of darkness. Kensrue tells of the power of the light to cut through the darkness and the cold. We live in a tiring time, but we’re told to
“try and raise your lamps a little higher. Hold up the light- hold up the light- hold up the light ’til the world is won.”
The song, I believe, is a song longing for redemption. That even though the night is long, cold, and dark- the dawn is just about the break through when the darkness is pushed back. The song concludes:
Darkness above, but we’re dreaming of the new dawn when love burns this night away.
Palms is a continuation of TBEITBN thematically and with a continually evolving sound. It has been in constant rotation since getting it last week. It will continue to stand out in Thrice’s celebrated catalogue.