When a band releases an amazing debut album like Thrice’s first release, “Illusion of Safety”, one of three things will happen with the follow-up. Most commonly, it will sound, look, smell and taste like ass. And not like, “I’d love to stick my tongue in Halle Berry’s ass” ass; more like ‘stinky, crusty hair morbidly obese man who eats a lot of Alberto’s and get’s fucked in his ass and lets guys pull out and finish between his cheeks’ ass. This usually doesn’t go well with the fans, and they tend to jump ship, save for a few diehards who would willingly accompany ass music to the end of this crappy planet. The second, and less common but slightly more favorable direction the follow-up album heads towards is complete mediocrity. You buy the CD, jam it into the crappy 3in1 stereo your ex-girlfriend bought you for your birthday four years ago, and it sounds like exactly the fucking same as the last album.
The band didn’t go anywhere but sideways, and as much of a relief of non-assing that is, it’s still disappointing. These could be the songs that just didn’t make it on first album, and the only difference is that this album insert is all gay and fancy and some two bit producer hack’s name is slapped on the back, taking credit for all his cockknobbing (err, “direction”) on the soundboard. I hate when good bands do this. It’s almost worse then sucking, ‘cuz now the band’s fans are like “uhh.. okay, now what?” Luckily, “The Artist in the Ambulance” squeezes into the third conclusion of follow-up releases to a hit: fucking better then the last. Yeah, this is better. Not by much, because “Illusion of Safety” was pretty fucking good, but this is better. Thrice fans know this. The people that blow this album off don’t know anything about music, and you can write that down on a piece of paper, lick the other side, smack it on their forehead, point a finger in their face and say “FACT.”
Thrice sticks to the same dodgeball square of sound structure and buildups/breakdowns; it’s gem’s like “The Melting Point of Wax” and “Paper Tigers” that really shine like tasty red apples. Thrice did do the now more-common act of sticking a few orchestra-related instruments into a few tracks (cello, violin, viola (whatever the fuck a viola is)), something that, even if more and more bands are doing, hasn’t gotten me sick of yet and is a good side direction in indie music. And anyways, Thrice fucking rips it up live, so this is really just a warm up to you catching them at a club anyways. The first user review of this album on Amazon.com is “Thrice is an AMAZING hardcore punk band”, but don’t consider them that. Think of a less insulting comparison of them being the “Jimmie Eat World of hardcore” or something.