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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2009
If there's one thing that can be said about Thrice, it is that they never make the same album twice. Following up the moderate success of 2003's The Artist in the Ambulance, the band produced their most expansive and experimental album to date in 2005's Vheissu. While it was an unfortunate commercial failure, it succeeded as a re-birth for the band that helped them find their true, signature sound. Perhaps to top such a feat, the band released the quadruple album, Alchemy Index, Vols. I-IV, over the course of 2007 and 2008 -- split amongst four EP's -- which saw the band break down and stretch out their style in ways we had never heard before. For their sixth studio effort, the band hunkered down at guitarist/producer Teppei Taranishi's home studio and produced "Beggars" all by themselves. Another in a long line of stunning albums from the California quartet, it's an album that will simultaneously challenge and sound like home to the band's well-established fanbase.

Like those before it, "Beggars" is an album that has Thrice sounding like themselves and yet, doesn't sound a thing like anything they've played before. It's both energetic and organic, sounding like music made by four very passionate and talented musicians, and less by some studio-tinkering. However, that's not to say that it pales in comparison to the production values of its predecessors, in fact, "Beggars" goes so far as to not only prove the band can create an enormous sound all on its own, but that they have the song-writing chops to back it up. Ten songs make up the album that range from brooding and mournful to spicy and up-beat. I could sit here and describe each song to you but would not be doing them any justice, except to say that the album is almost air-tight, as there isn't a single song that drags it down or makes it a chore to listen to. To be honest, there's so much going on with this album that you could listen to it on repeat for an entire day (try it!) and never tire of it.

All the elements of Thrice you've come to love still remain intact, albeit, in a much different and very interesting way. With song-writing as strong as the musicianship behind it -- something the band never failed at -- Thrice prove they are worth their weight and that, at 11 years strong as a band, can still evolve and retain an identity. There are few bands out there that take their craft as seriously as Thrice and who remain this consistent. It's a shame the mainstream has yet to catch on to these brilliant musicians, but those who know what they are capable of know what to expect with "Beggars," which is that it is everything I have described and so much more.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2009
It is a true pleasure to watch these four musicians grow with each release. I think it's fair to say that starting with Artist in The Ambulance in 2003 the band has had a steady increase in two departments, development in songwritting and a keen sense of experimentation. These area's being fully realized on 2005's Vheissu, an absolute masterpiece, completely setting them apart from their musical peers.

That being said, Beggars has had alot to live up to.

I'm glad to say that the growth continues, and there are a few surprises along the way. The first thing that is apparent upon listening to the album for the first time is Dustin Kensrue's vocals. Step back, take a moment, and take a listen to tracks off of 2002's album "Illusion of Saftey", then go back to "Beggars", he has grown ito a full fledged vocalist and singer, at times (dare i say) on the new album moments that bring Jeff Buckley to mind (see title track).

The Second thing listners should take notice of on "Beggars" is how tightly woven and intricate the musicianship is throughout the album. The instumentation is spectacular, particularly the guitar lines coming from the fret play of guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Teppei Teranishi. And that rhythm section provided by the thumping bass of Ed Breckenridge, and massive yet presice drumming of Riley Breckenridge. They have the feel of a band that now know it's strengths and weaknesses, and uses that to their full advantage. They just sound flat-out GREAT on "Beggars" people.

Their are few albums that I believe can be appreciated on the same level by both newcomers and old fans alike, and "Beggars" is one of those albums. I look forward to many repeated listens, finding new depth to each song and enjoying what Thrice has put together on this album..............Highly Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2009
Thrice have always been unsurpassed when it comes to experimenting with different styles of music, and seem to always put out amazing albums no matter what they are delving in currently. Beggars is the culmination of their musical journey from Hardcore Punk to Atmospheric Rock and everything in between. You won't find anything remotely close to Vheissu, Artist, or Illusion on this record...and it works quite good for them. Dustin's songwriting and singing has matured so much over the years that the new raw mold of Alternative Rock is a perfect niche for him and the band. I can listen to this album from start to finish and by the closing self titled track I always as impressed as I was the first listen. I'd say this album could easily be up for Album of the Year if only Thrice had more mainstream recognition, but the few of us who are blessed enough to appreciate and enjoy Thrice's work...this will be a record that doesn't collect dust on the shelf for years to come. I highly recommend it.

Standout Tracks:
The Weight
In Exile
Wood and Wire
Beggars
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Just like The Beatles, who have gained international acclaim by not only writing anthematic love songs but eloquent tales of what the human soul can endure, Thrice put out a record that is honest from the very first snare roll of "All The World Is Mad". As of other reviewers have noted, the evolution of the band's music is probably the most uncanny, unconventional of anything I've ever heard, but somehow it all seems to be cohesive and brilliant. From their early punk-The Refused-influenced days of Identity Crisis & Illusions Of Safety to the mammoth of sound and melody known only as The Artist In The Ambulance, Thrice, over time, began to harness feeling and emotion into their instruments and began to use them to create songs that felt so genuinely unique yet so honest. After completing the stunning Vheissu & the mesmerizing Alcehmy Index Volumes, Thrice has proven that they can push their creativity to all realms and still not lose the same intensity and honesty that they've had since Identity Crisis. While some may not enjoy Beggars because it lacks the metallic,blistering frenzy of the "Paper Tigers"/"To Awake and Avenge The Dead" days, others will find this the most heart driven record the band has ever released. Let me start off by saying that I believe this to truly be Dustin Kensrue's best performance (besides The Alchemy Index of course). I had the privilege of seeing him perform on the Where's The Band Tour where he performed his solo acoustic set including Thrice songs and various covers. Watching him perform Tom Wait,Cold War Kids, and Counting Crows really drives home how his voice has evolved towards a more mature style of singing and conveying emotion through his genius lyrics. Beggars is relentless in how much organic feeling is being pumped through every song. "Circles" , one of my favorite tracks, gives you a nostalgic feeling of being a kid again on rainy, dreary day, while "Through The Glass" lyrically and musically paints the perfect portrait of two people suffering through a lack of communication and indifference. "In Exile" (my favorite on the record) is an alternative masterpiece of slow resonating melodies accompanied with pin-point precision drumming. Teppei is truly at the top of his game when it comes to his playing on the record. Every song has such great tone and vibe to it, that you almost assume that they gathered 10 different guitarists for each song. As also aforementioned, the tightness of the band also is reminiscent of The Beatles, and this is especially noted in the choruses. Each chorus just grabs you by the soul and lifts you up. Beggars is truly a phenomenal record through and through. Sure, there's not as much experimentation as on The Alchemy Index but it clears your headspace and actually gives you a record that you can sit and listen to it without having to think about the complexity of how the lyrics relate to a certain element or how the instrumentation embodies that vibe. Listen to this record without expectations and give each song a second or third listen to drive the point home. At the end of the day, you may be surprised to find this Thrice's finest hour.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2009
First and foremost, anyone expecting another Illusion of Safety should probably quit while you're ahead. While TIOS is one of my favorite albums ever created, Thrice doesn't really do post-hardcore anymore. With that said, Beggars shows how much a band can evolve over a few years. The album's sound has a very stripped down, earthly feel to it. While it's very different from their earlier albums, which are pretty much explosive with sound, Thrice has maintained their best qualities. Their song structures are still some of the best in the game, with the best songs building up to a climax which will make even the pickiest of listeners rewind. "Circles", "Wood and Wire" and the title track are perfect examples of this. My favorite song from the album, "The Weight", goes from chilled out and simplistic to exploding with energy from the verse to the chorus as Dustin sings beautifully about loyalty in a relationship. His lyrics have been incredible from TIOS, and this album definitely does not disappoint. Still, there are a few missteps as he sings some unfitting lyrics on "At the Last" ("I'm a good man... I'm a good man... Am I a good man?", that self-doubt concept already having been done perfectly on "So Strange I Remember You" from TIOS). Thankfully, any flaws like those are few and far in between. While the album is generally chilled out and mellow, Thrice proves they can still hit the listener with energy, such as on "Talking Through Glass" and "All the World is Mad", the first being an furious love song and the latter being a dark, moody track condemning the state of society. All in all, Beggars is a great album that will please any open-minded Thrice fans and rock fans in general.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2009
Thrice has once again taken another step towards being one of the greatest bands of all time. Definitely a step in the right direction. What I truly love about this band is that they do what they want to do, they don't care about fan's trying to push them back their old stuff. They do what feels good to them, they are true musicians doing whatever it takes to advance themselves. This album has a good range of soft stuff mixed with a bunch of energetic music as well and some in between. The key track for me was the title track. Beggars is I believe Dustin's best to date, there is so much style and honesty in his vocals its amazing to listen to. All the tracks are strong on this album, the only weak track is The Great Exchange. I still think it is better than most of the stuff thats out there now a days though. I would strongly recommend this disc if you are into raw sounding emotional music. They are truly the Radiohead of post-hardcore.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2009
Finally, I have been waiting for a good Thrice album since Vheissu. I can say that I hated all the stupid Alchemy Index cd's. They pissed me off and almost made me stop listening to Thrice. But anyway, enough about my past with Thrice.

Beggers starts out with solid beats and amazing singing that Dustin doesn't hold back. I love every song on this album. I look at it as Vheissu Part 2. The lyrics are truly amazing on this album and it sounds like they are finally having fun with their music again. The beats are catchy and the sound is very defined.

Some songs are slowler, but I don't mind that them, I actually prefer the harder songs where Dustin's scream is almost heard. Each one of the instruments sticks out perfectly well too. I'm glad because not many bands have their instruments stick out on their own. I really enjoy this album to the full extent as Vheissu is my second favorite album next to Identity Crisis. Thrice is finally back to their original sound and I'll gladly buy any of their cd's as long as they keep their sound like this.

Stand out songs:

All The World is Mad
Weight
In Exile
Doublespeak
The Great Exchange
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2009
Another step forward in the evolution of Thrice. This band has come a long way from their beginnings and proven themselves over the years to be a band that is not afraid to do anything.

Like The Alchemy Index collection of elements, Beggars is packed with diversity, masterful musicianship, and thought provoking lyrics. From beginning to end each song grooves in it's own way and hooks you in as only Thrice can do. Every track stands out on it's own and after each complete spin of this album you'll want to play it again, and again, and again... and it'll still sound fresh.

Beggars will without a doubt be among my top 5 albums of the year along with the latest from Mastodon, Porcupine Tree, Pearl Jam, and an open slot for something yet to get released.

Oh yeah, one more thing: Buy the actual cd because you'll get a code to download a headfull of bonus tunes.
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on January 9, 2013
I lost all interest in Thrice for whatever reason after "The Artist in the Ambulance" aside maybe two songs off of "Vheissu". I took a spin with the "Anthology" album since I saw that Thrice were breaking up, and I wanted to see what, if anything I'd missed. As soon as the song "In Exile" started playing, I knew I had to get whichever album it came off of, which led me to picking up "Beggars". Just wow. This may have came out in 2009, but its my record of the year for 2013. Songs like "Circles" are a perfect example of why. Starting with a minimal guitar line, its quickly joined by a laidback drum beat and somber sounding keys (something I'd grown to hate with most "post-hardcore" bands) and the subtle yet poweful vocals of Kensrue; but here, like with the rest of the album, it's not the vocals themselves that are amazing, it's the lyrics. Deep isn't quite the word; maybe 'cutting' is, as the words here and throughout the album cut. They cut to the heart of the message, the listener, society, and religion, seemingly trying to cut down ultimately to the heart of the spiritual thirst that Kensrue feels. It seems that it's difficult to write music about God without the lyrics falling into familiar 'worship' territory, but Kensrue and company have found a way to. Kensrue is to rock music as C.S. Lewis was to Christian literature. The hope of the life after this one is explored in "In Exile", my favorite track off this album, and possibly my favorite Thrice song ever. "Wood and Wire" is Thrice Floyd, or Pink Thrice possibly, venturing into spacey melodic territory, though those melodies can't compare with the one that awaits us at the end of "Talking Through Glass/We Move Like Swingsets " where we gain a glimpse at Thrice In Chains; seriously; can Alice In Chains even sound this haunting now? Anyway, an amazing album. Pick it up now; don't wait 4 years like I did.
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on June 3, 2011
Okay, let me start out by saying that I, personally, DO NOT like Beggars. I liked Thrice in their 2002-2003 days with Illusion Of Safety and The Artist In The Ambulance so much better, with the stories and references in their lyrics, breaking of conventional scales and time signatures, and the feel of the music that was chaotic and somehow melodic at the same time.

Now you may wonder why I gave this 5 stars if I didn't like it. Well that's because, as a reviewer, I have to review things objectively, not as a fan of past works. And objectively, this is a GREAT CD. Beggars opens up with "All The World Is Mad," starting you off with a drum fill and a driving bass and guitar melody that one can't help but bob their heads to, followed by Dustin Kensrue's haunting vocals that seem to carve their way into your brain and cause you to whistle or hum them for days after first hearing them. This is a common occurrence throughout the entire CD, especially in songs such as "Circles", "Doublespeak", and "Talking Through Glass". The music of this album still follows suit with past Thrice works in the sense that it has that unique feel that is very Thrice, though on this one you can definitely feel hints of Cage The Elephant and Muse. The best way to describe this album in short is that they took the entire Alchemy Index and mashed it up to create Beggars. There's some of the driving, mathy music of Volume I: Fire complimented by the melody of Vol III: Air, or the soft, mellow flow of Volume II: Water juxtaposed with the darkness of Volume IV: Earth.

In closing, I have always been impressed by the evolution and creativity between every Thrice album, and this one is no exception, but I personally prefer something with the hook and grab of Illusion Of Safety or Artist In The Ambulance. 5 stars all the same.
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