Sound — 8
Thrice's sound has, quite notably, moved on from that of their equally awesome second album "The Illusion of Safety". The outcome is similar in the way that it is another stunning example of the the group's talent, but it differs quite significantly, sounding less like a punk-fused-with-hardcore record, and more hardcore-fused-with-punk. The inclusion of violins and a piano adds to the dense atmosphere, and it is clear from the first few moments of opener "Cold Cash and Colder Hearts" that Thrice know how to make a good song. Everything falls neatly into place, never sounding boring or over-used. One criticism I have heard, and can relate to, is that of a lot of the songs sounding similar. For this reason, I unfortunately don't feel like I can award the album an 'Excellent' rating on sound.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are excellent. Dustin has repeatedly distanced his lyrical style from that of, for example, Davey Havok or Matt Skiba, claiming that he doesn't have a death obsession, he's "just dark". There is, despite his words, a generally pessimistic theme throughout the album. From death to underachieving to, well...death, the album's lyrics are simple without being cliched. Lines come and go with apparent ease, making sense to the listener and providing catchy little rhyming pairings every so often (this seems to be the main lyrical style used). Vocally, Dustin has a good voice, which fits with the lyrics and the music, and is equally good at screaming.
Overall Impression — 10
Whilst greatly differeing in style from previous Thrice offerings, this album is still extremely good. The only reason I haven't awarded it full marks is because the songs do tend to blur together at times, and, as was for me the only problem with "The Illusion of Safety", sound a a bit too similar. This, however, is my only criticism of a band who are clearly maturing both in musical ability and in production. Don't be put off by Joel Madden (of Good Charlotte 'fame') and his constant high-pitched references to Thrice at any award ceremony he happens to be allowed into, this band is on the up, and has what it takes to set them apart form the crowd. I can highly recommend this album to fans of Funeral for a Friend, The Movielife and perhaps stuff like (newer) Sum 41. Highlights include "Cold Cash and Colder Hearts", "Under A Killing Moon", the single "All That's Left", the heavier effort "Silhouette", and the title track "The Artist In The Ambulance". Overall, a great album from a fast-maturing band.