Fuckin A

Fuckin A

by The ThermalsThe Thermals

CD

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Overview

With a title that's as much a call to arms as a call to rock out, the Thermals' Fuckin A offers a darker, more developed version of the passionate, in-the-red indie rock of their debut, More Parts Per Million. The most immediately noticeable difference between the two albums is the sound quality: instead of recording most of the songs to a cassette player in Hutch Harris' kitchen, as the band did with their first album, this time the Thermals spent four days in a more traditional studio with friend/producer/Death Cab for Cutie guitarist/organist Chris Walla. The result is an album that sounds cleaner but still keeps most of the band's ramshackle energy. However, the Thermals have different reasons to sound urgent on Fuckin A than they did on More Parts Per Million; though that album's "No Culture Icons" tackled the politics of the indie scene, much of Fuckin A is just straight-up political, a response to the war in Iraq and other events in America and in the world that transpired after their debut was released. The switch to a moderately cleaner sound for this album pays off well in this regard, if only because it's easier to hear Harris' smart, talky lyrics with a few layers of static stripped from them. On songs like "End to Begin," "When You're Thrown," and "God and Country" -- on which he sneers, "Pray for a new state, pray for assassination" -- Harris balances the power of protest chants with the same intricate wordplay and internal rhymes that made it worth dividing his lyrics from More Parts Per Million's wash of noise. Even the songs that aren't overtly political still have political leanings: on "A Stare Like Yours," described by Harris as an "aggressive love song," he sings, "When you don't have control, you have to pretend." Likewise, "Forward" and "Remember Today" have a bouncy idealism that stands in sharp contrast to Fuckin A's more charged moments. "Keep Time," one of the best songs the Thermals have yet written, is both upbeat and political, an anthem about trying to keep some hope even in challenging times. Owing to its themes, Fuckin A is a shade or two less exuberant than More Parts Per Million, but it's no less passionate or energetic, and it proves the Thermals can introduce new sounds and ideas into their music without losing what made them worth listening to in the first place.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/18/2004
Label: Sub Pop
UPC: 0098787064520
catalogNumber: 645

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Fuckin A 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In an age where emo-punk is ludicriously overpraised, a music listener of good sense must wonder: has great, punk-inspired music disappeared up its own rear end? No, it's underground in the indie music community, where it usually belongs. The Thermals, current recording artists on the distinguished Sub Pop label, know that the spirit of punk in music is only present when it isn't lifeless, as it is with current "emo" trends. If you hate hearing "emo" and "punk" in the same sentence, lend an ear to this searing record, complete with compressed production in true punk fashion. Fans of the Pixies or the Hives (meaning their high-energy punk-inspired sound as well as their great sense of melody) will most likely eat the Thermals right up. They are (in my estimation) indie rock with punk overtones, and they make it a pretty fun-loving combination. Lyrically, they are no slouch either. Watch out for "God and Country", which is a scathing attack on the Bush administration, as well as "Top of the Earth", a hypothetical closing thought about a perfect world with cheap oil and people dying for more worthy causes. The Thermals are still for politics in punk, which is more than can be said for most modern music that they may or may not get lumped with. Hear this record as soon as you can. If you aren't yelling the album's title to yourself by the time it's over, there's no hope.