Personal Life – The Thermals

The Thermals built its reputation by being loud and lo-fi with a bratty punk rebelliousness. It isn’t a band that would make you go, “Awww…The Thermals so sweet and thoughtful.” Then Personal Life happened.

Considering the band’s previous two albums have focused on fascist religious oppression and death respectively, Personal Life’s theme of being badly, deeply, madly in love might seem a stretch. But frontman Hutch Harris delivers the lyrics with such sincerity that everything works. Nothing is over thought, but it’s all sharp.

The highlight of the album is Kathy Foster’s heavy bass grooves. On tracks like “Never Listen To Me” and “Only For You” the bass is so deep that the listener can aurally sink into them like a body into an ultra plush couch (new drummer Westin Glass’ tight beats also bolster the rhythm section). While these tracks are indicative of the open feel of the album, the more familiar punk-y enthusiasm of “I Don’t Believe You” can’t be topped.
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