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The Artist in the Ambulance

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Album Review

While Thrice's third effort bears the imprint of Sub City, the charitable arm of thriving L.A. indie Hopeless, the grandiose die-cut packaging of The Artist in the Ambulance also features the famous rainbow spine of Island, or, in the parlance of the 21st century business umbrella, Island Def Jam Music Group, a division of Universal. Following the same route as sonic compatriots the Used, A.F.I., and the 30 or so other bands thanked in the liner notes, Thrice makes the jump to major-label land with the aid of big-league production and mixing, sick cash flow, and the freedom to stretch both its sound and its vision (each song receives its own panel, upon which each bandmember ruminates). For Artist, helmsman Brian McTernan and mixing guru Andy Wallace have tightened the seams that hold together Thrice's patchwork print of post-hardcore bellow, emotional bluster, and unabashed metal wankery, ensuring an album that teems with the urgency of Thrice's peers' recent work. "The Abolition of Man," "Cold Cash and Colder Hearts," and especially "Paper Tigers" could have easily appeared on 2002's Illusion of Safety; however, none would have been as tightly wound as they appear here. Indeed, the latter cut sounds like a vintage hardcore rant bleeding through on a cassette dub of Accept's Restless & Wild. Wrapped in razor wire and glinting in the moonlight, "Paper Tiger" leads into the churning rhythms of "Hoods on Peregrine." Here, hardcore is switched out for emo, but the technical metal framework stays. Elsewhere, first single "All That's Left" drops a little too much homeroom poetry on listeners ("We tried to bleed the sickness/But we drained our hearts instead/We are the dead"), but still manages to move along at a brisk, teary-eyed clip. It's guaranteed to be the theme song to a tortured teen romance. The more traditional hook of "All That's Left" is welcome. Together with the album's relatively straightforward title track, it checks the unforgiving pace of The Artist in the Ambulance, which sometimes becomes so busy with complicated riffing, solar plexus percussion, and wordy lyricisms that it starts to implode. Certainly benefiting from the ears and editing of McTernan and Wallace, Artist is the strongest Thrice album yet, meaning that Island/Universal gets its money's worth in the best way possible: with good music.

Customer Reviews

Still My Favorite Album

Ever since this album came out, it has always been playing in my cd player, on my computer, or when I listen to my iPod. It stays fresh no matter how many times you listen to it. It's a shame more people don't give the band a chance, as the screaming may turn some people off. But if you give it some time and actually listen to what the band sings about, you realize this is one of the deeper bands out there. Give them a shot...


Thrice is amazing. I always feel bad when their name is put next to others like AFI and The Used... Any musician would automatically laugh at the comparison. Thrice is like no other, from their compelling lyrics to hypnotizing harmonies, listening to this and their other albums is an exceptional expirience on a pedistal unnatainable by any other music, especially that of today's horribly low standards. In this CD thrice maintains their hard, raw sound but add foreshadowment toward Vhiessu's melodic story. Silhouette was on repeat for days... and then played by my band for months... Paper tigers, Under a killing moon, flawless.


Thrice is a great great band. I saw them at the warped tour this year (05) and they were great. Teppie is definatly skilled and i would kill to tour with these guys. They are an inspiration. and they are not punk dicko. they are Rock/Hardcore?Experimental


Formed: 1998 in Irvine, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Post-hardcore quartet Thrice formed in 1998 in Irvine, California. Guitarist/vocalist Dustin Kensrue, guitarist Teppei Teranishi, bassist Eddie Breckenridge, and drummer Riley Breckenridge all knew each other from high school and the neighborhood skate park, and the usual round of practices, music competitions, and local gigs helped hone their new band's sound. By late 1999, Thrice had amassed enough material to cut a proper record. Working with Death by Stereo's Paul Miner, the quartet recorded...
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The Artist in the Ambulance, Thrice
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