“that boundless pop rock feel they’re known for” – Niall McGuirk on We Disappear, the 7th album from Portland’s The Thermals
The Thermals remind me of Robbie Keane: Criminally underrated yet still playing, despite some bad games. They have been on three of the best alternative record labels, debuting on Sub Pop, then moving to Kill Rock Stars before settling with Saddle Creek. Labels with heavy-hitting peers, such as Nirvana, Bikini Kill, Bright Eyes or the Pixies, and as peers they have earned their place alongside these bands.
They come from one of the coolest cities in the world (Portland) and their lo-fi indie rock sound won its greatest acclaim when their third album The Body, The Blood, The Machine was released a decade ago. Butt the band kept bashing away. They collaborated with people like Brendan Canty from Fugazi and worked at what they knew best – playing good songs.
We Disappear is the 7th album from the band and has that boundless pop rock feel they’re known for. I’m listening to this the same day the UK Independent ran a story about how much we share our private information. A quick search online can gather more information than many Governments hold on its people. Tesco’s database knows as much about you as many of your human friends. We Disappear is about how humans fight the inevitable but “in the code we stay alive“. As I search frantically at home for photographs of my youth it becomes obvious that we are preserving memories of people forever. We can reminisce about pre-internet days and try to document our movements, but this is no longer required. Our footsteps are traced.
It’s not just technology though, love and death are also sung about here. Their site tells me that We Disappear “is an emotional document of how two people can tear each other apart, while simultaneously making you wanna get up and jump around the room.” That sums it up perfectly. You don’t need my words as I’m too busy wanting to jump around, smile and look at those close by and say have a listen to this record. Maybe it’s inevitable, as the band reach it’s fourteenth year, that life and its surroundings become more prevalent subjects. As I hear of friends passing I realise we need to fulfill those dreams as soon as we can. With The Thermals the dream must be to keep recording good music.