(Kill Rock Stars)


Hutch Harris isn’t so much a frontman as a “raving indie-rock preacherman,” said Austin Ray in Paste. When the leader of the Thermals steps up to the microphone, he doesn’t just sing but pontificates over fierce blasts of garage-punk. While 2006’s The Body, the Blood, the Machine was a caustic harangue about Christian extremism, the fourth album from the Portland, Ore., trio is a boisterous celebration of life set to polished pop.

That’s a bit of a surprise, considering that Now We Can See is written from the perspective of a corpse, said Rebecca Raber in Pitchforkmedia.com. Certain tracks convey “the regret you would expect from the recently deceased.” But in general the band is “too joyously silly and powerfully spazzy” not to reflect on and revel in life’s many pleasures. From the opener, “When I Died,” to the rollicking title track, Harris shows how to take on life’s heaviness without letting it weigh you down.