Thermals a little easier to digest

The Thermals, Now We Can See (Kill Rock Stars)

The Thermals have never been shy of speaking the truth as they see it. Their last album, a scathing critique of America under a right-wing theocracy, was momentous in both its intellectualism and power-punk execution. Now We Can See is equally ambitious, but easier to digest because the story foresees hope instead of despair. The main characters shed their skin, return to the sea and experience an enlightenment that comes from abandoning the desires for power and possession. Songs like "When I Died" and the title track are catchier than anything the band did before, but never does this newfound accessibility detract from their uniqueness.

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