The second release by this Portland, OR trio retains the band's raw energy and charisma, while upping the fidelity ante significantly. "Every bit as playground naive as The Ramones, as emotionally all-consumed as The Smiths--The Thermals are like falling in love, for the first time, all over again"--NME.
Since so much three-chord punk has gotten stale, this Portland, Oregon trio often strips down to just two chords--which makes those moments when they do splurge on that third precious bundle of notes staggeringly climactic. The Thermals have just one basic melody, but it's a great one, and like the finest bluesmen, their brilliance is in the variations they work over these standard changes. Except these variations aren't solos--they're gradations of emotional tone and feedback burst and Hutch Harris' clearly enunciated rants. There's a political underpinning to this all--the lyrics on the elliptical yet scathing "God and Country" ("Pray for a new state/ Pray for assassination") draws the line pretty clearly. But even here, Harris chooses not to rail against the powers that be, but instead to express solidarity with a likeminded constituency, declaring "History will show our progress is slow/ When we win/ We win in inches." --Keith Harris