Now We Can See - The Thermals
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Now We Can See is very much a record about vision, death, disease, perspective, and, er, turning into a fish (?) but its great expressive anchor is the elated desperation that gives punk both its wickedness and its promise.
  2. An album that goes so far in proving that simplicity not only has its place, it’s also often the path to unmitigated greatness.
  3. 'I Call Out Your name won't exactly smash the state, but it's a perfect little pop song. So are opening track, 'When I Died' and 'Now We Can See', where the band's return to gleefully subversive social commentary can't undermine their most infectious pop hook. [May 2009, p.110]
  4. Now We Can See might not be fist-clenching Thermals fans’ first choice, but it shows there’s way, way more to the band than fist pumping yellers. They’re built for the long haul.
  5. With perky melodies and singsong choruses, angst has rarely sounded so precious.
  6. Indeed, as their debut for Kills Rocks Stars, Now We Can See is an album fit to carry the torch in 2009 for one of the underground’s most fearlessly exciting labels.
  7. As with any such wildly anticipated album, the reverse motion could be a case of perspective, of personal expectations being insurmountably high, because Now We Can See is by no means a bad album. It just seems a little pedestrian for such a talented and unique band.
  8. Now We Can See feels both like a nod to America’s past grievances and its potentially bright future.
  9. 80
    Now We Can See feels a sunnier listen, bracing indie-rock with few frills but a joyfully juvenile energy and choruses to spare. [Jun 2009, p.103]
  10. 80
    After ranting against Christian extremism on their last outing, they're back to mindless fun, and with new drummer Westin Glass, they've resurrected the savage, speed-strummed fervor that once made Kill Rock Stars matter.
  11. While there's nothing here quite as thrilling as 'A Pillar of Salt,' the standout from their last album, it's impossible to deny the adrenaline rush of 'I Called Out Your Name' or the title track.
  12. The result is an exuberant, almost joyful record brimming with sly cynicism and a newfound fondness for whoa-oh refrains and handclaps.
  13. Musically, the Thermals deliver a cleaner, more refined version of the raging anthems found on Body, the band's worship of '90s indie rock ringing through louder and clearer than ever before.
  14. This much more polished follow-up goes down smoother but still packs plenty of fire.
  15. Rest assured, The Thermals is back and as tight as ever.
  16. Now We Can See is bursting with clear-headed explorations of the ways that fear and neuroses hold us back from truly living, winkingly clinical examinations of the rote machinations that consume our lives, and tales of the savagery at the basis of modern existence.
  17. Overall, Now We Can See is a bit uneven. Still, it's an interesting step in The Thermals, um, evolution. [Spring 2009, p.74]
  18. 70
    On their fourth record, the tempos are slower, the guitars thick and meaty, the rants kinda melodic, the thoughts impressionistic.
  19. More important than the album’s conceit and whatever toehold it might offer, though, is that it sports less flab than their critical breakthrough.
  20. Now We Can See is not a sequel to The Body, The Blood, The Machine, but it is the perfect record to follow the fire and brimstone and slouching-towards-apocalypse tension of its predecessor.
  21. No-one could accuse this Portland trio of skimping on sarcasm--even if it is the kind of sarcasm that dribbles likes a student rallying against capitalism as he pulls in to a McDonald's drive-thru.
  22. The album isn't a total disaster, though, there are a few songs that manage to overcome the record's flaws and deliver some excitement.
  23. There's a pervasive sameness throughout, so even highlights like the title track suffer from diminishing returns.
  24. It is in reality a bit boring, a bit generic, and a bit aggravating.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Jon
    Jun 8, 2009
    8
    This is a very solid album. I can listen to it all the way through and aren't so quick to pull it out when it starts to repeat, and This is a very solid album. I can listen to it all the way through and aren't so quick to pull it out when it starts to repeat, and there's something to say for that. Many of the songs are very similar, but that formula seems to work well. I'm not that familiar with their earlier stuff, but this is pretty good. The lead singer reminds me of CAKE, but set in front of a indie/brit punk sound, if that makes sense. I would recommend. Full Review »
  2. AndyK.
    Apr 15, 2009
    8
    Right now it's an 8. At first I thought it was a worse album than The Blood, etc., but after taking a few more listens it's Right now it's an 8. At first I thought it was a worse album than The Blood, etc., but after taking a few more listens it's actually quite good! It's just a bit less aggressive and raw than the last one, but the songs become catchy. Favorite right now is the first song When I Died, which has some great guitar in it. The other songs have grown over time as well. Solid album. Better than their earlier stuff. Full Review »
  3. Marc
    Apr 10, 2009
    10
    The Thermals are my favorite band, and this is their best, and most fully realized album.