On April 15th, the third and fourth volumes of Thrice’s concept album, The Alchemy Index, will be officially released. The two volumes are titled Air and Earth. I had the privilege to listen to the records for the first time last night, and I’m listening to it a second time as I write this.
I initially compared these volumes to the first two that were released, Fire and Water. The first two really followed their elemental concepts. Fire was a very heavy, disoriented record, and Water was much more fluid and calm. Lyrically and musically, Air and Earth both follow their elements as well. Air has themes related to breathing and flying. Earth relates to existence and uses acoustic instruments such as piano, banjo, and of course, acoustic guitar.
I enjoy how the last track of the first volume on each pair of The Alchemy Index transitions into the second volume. Silver Wings transitions well into Moving Mountains on this set. The Flame Deluge transitions well into Digital Sea. Whether this was intentional or not, it helps make the volumes seem like two full-lengths versus four EPs which makes it more satisfying.
The Alchemy Index impressed me as a whole. I plan on listening to it from the first volume to the last. I really feel that Thrice has channeled more of their musical influences and expanded their horizon with this collection. The songs are very different from each other which keeps the listener interested track to track. Thrice proves that they have grown as a band both musically and mentally. They did an excellent job producing this record themselves which is a feat in itself.
Many fans will miss hearing the angst-driven rock that Thrice hatched with The Illusion of Safety and evolved more in The Artist and the Ambulance, but I understand that bands that are meant to succeed will grow and seek out new directions. The progression of their sound was hinted in Vheissu and came to fruition in The Alchemy Index. You will notice many styles of music that include but are not limited to: experimental rock, post-hardcore, electronic, folk, alternative rock, and acoustic rock.
Since Thrice put away their flams and finger-tapping solos, they’ve explored more options in expressing themselves through the beautiful music that they create. All four volumes of The Alchemy Index prove this. To me, The Alchemy Index to this decade is what Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was in the ’90s. They are both solid concept records where each band took their experience as musicians and brought it to the next level.
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