Review: The Thermals – ‘We Disappear’

We Disappear might be a break up album, but with their seventh release The Thermals are injecting colour into into their template.

It’s nearing fifteen years since The Thermals first started making music together. Taking their tried and tested formula, the band use the vehicle of a disintegrating relationship to question how connected we really are, and in fact, how real anything we show to feel is, in this technology adept age.

With this album the band stare their reflection straight in the eye, openly addressing the inner doubt that comes from separation, and questioning the external image we all seek to preserve, wondering how long our self made characters can last. But there’s no negativity in sight. Mourning, yes, but The Thermals take their emotions in their stride, as part of the rich and varied tapestry that makes up our lives, and make it all sound so easy.

The record is power punk at its most anthemic, squalling guitars and resplendent vocals harkening back to the stadium greats of old. Sure, there’s no new ground broken, and no definitive answers given, but We Disappear isn’t meant to be that. Instead, the album is a soundtrack of reassurance.

Centrepiece “The Great Dying” is a sonically and emotively stand out track, demonstrating the group at their most poignant. “We scrawled our name, we were here,” frontman Hutch Harris sings, pausing as he gathers the strength to admit “we disappear.” Surrounded by the yearning positivity of “If We Don’t Die Today” and the explosive energy of “In Every Way”, these tracks act as the albums heart: broken but very much beating.

We Disappear is a love letter to the unknown: to who we were and who we are, to what was and what remains. Yes, it is a break up record, but forsaking the forlorn to focus on the wider picture, The Thermals manage to make that ending seem not quite so bad after all – and that’s something that, from time to time, we all need to hear.

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