The Album Drop


Review: Thrice – The Artist In The Ambulance – Revisited

Thrice – The Artist In The Ambulance – Revisited (2023)

Why would a band go through the hassle of re-recording one of their older records? There are a number of reasons that would inspire this to happen. Rights management has been the main one of late; as brought into public consciousness by Def Leopard & Taylor Swift. A re-recording moves the copyright of your work out of the hands that hold the rights to the original recording to a more desirable place for the artist, restarting the clock on their copyright, and subsequently, making it available for licensing purposes and other streams of monetization. This seems to be the driving force, as most other reasons seem to circle back to making money, such as a lack of inspiration for new output, remastering/improved quality versions, repressing on vinyl, cassette, or HD Audio, and replacing lost master tapes.

The other version that occurs considerably less frequently is to showcase the progression of an artist. This seeming altruistic approach is what I want to believe is the driving force behind the re-recording of The Artist In The Ambulance. The third full-length record from Orange County, California’s Thrice was a significant breakthrough for the group and for the world of post-hardcore in general. Back in 2003, there simply weren’t a lot of bands that played this hard getting mainstream exposure. With its release on Island Records and a noticeable push from the label, it vaulted the group from their base touring the west coast, to that of an international touring act.

The noticeable difference in this release is that this record sounds more like what seeing the band live today would sound like, as it was recorded under completely different circumstances. In the band’s lore, The Artist In The Ambulance was their last record to sound like their first few albums. Recorded under time restraints, during spread-out sessions that were wedged between exhausting tours, much of which was put to tape while the ink was still wet on the composition.
Absent in these versions is the full-tilt, youthful exuberance of a band trying to make their mark, and in its place are the reflections of the road-tested and confident musicians who answer to the name on the album’s spine. Twenty-something years have changed the range of frontman Dustin Kensrue’s voice, while hundreds of performances have altered the way that he, guitarist Teppei Teranishi, and rhythm section Eddie & Riley Breckenridge perform the tunes, a slight (noticeable to a musician’s ear) reduction in the tempo – things like notes that are held longer, instead of being played more (think four 8th notes instead of 8 sixteen notes) really give this record the feeling of seeing a band playing their hits in front of an incredibly supportive audience.

This version also features the appearance of some friends, with vocals from Ryan Osterman (Holy Fawn), Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music), Sam Carter (Architects), Mike Minnick (Curl Up And Die), Brian McTernan (Be Well), and Andy Hull (Manchester Orchestra), all of which compliment the recordings, without taking the focus away from what this is, a loving recreation of an incredible album.

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This entry was posted on February 9, 2023 by in Reviews and tagged , .


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Phil [at] TheAlbumDrop [dot] ca
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