Personal Life - The Thermals
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. It's a sea change, in terms of the band's sound; their previous albums' hyper-political, sturm und drang punk fury is almost entirely gone, replaced by easygoing power-pop more akin to fellow Pacific Northwesterners Built to Spill. And this pump-the-brakes approach to songwriting yields some of their strongest, most emotionally resonant work yet.
  2. Jan 31, 2011
    80
    Occasionally this album is just as you might expect, raucous and raw, but elsewhere it is the work of people who seem unafraid to sound afraid. A gem. [6 Nov 2010, p.52]
  3. Dec 22, 2010
    80
    The Thermals continue to give three chords and the (difficult) truth a good name.
  4. Dec 20, 2010
    80
    Terse songwriting and Hutch Harris's emotionally strained vocals create a liberating sense of urgency--and there's something both modest and succinct about a 32-minute album in the age of infinite MP3s. [Dec 2010, p.115]
  5. 80
    Newly aching but still introspective, the Thermals remain a revelation.
  6. Personal Life may not be the band's most immediate album, but it's their best, a deep intimate record that's ultimately uplifting, quietly offering assurance and comfort on its trip into the mysterious zone of love and mortality. [Summer 2010, p.80]
  7. During the course of 10 catchy, snappy, lo-fi pop-punk songs, an incredibly personal, heartfelt narrative unfolds, full of ups and downs. [Oct 2010, p.120]
  8. The Thermals may not change your life, as Harris promises on the opener, but they keep on issuing front-to-back fun albums like few other bands.
  9. To its credit, the disc sounds like a band tweaking its signature noisemaking and groping toward something new. That transition promises to be amazing, but Personal Life feels more like a weary shifting of the gears than a drive to a definite destination.
  10. 70
    Where past efforts have been brash and speedy, this one takes its time and delivers messages of love(!) instead of messages of insubordination.
  11. 70
    Where the intervening years have tempered that haste, this fifth album offers compensation in the form of their sharpest, most precise set to date.
  12. Fortunately, The Thermals like to venture into unfamiliar territory--songs sound more spacious when they need the breathing space; bass lines will override a song when guitars ought to blend in. And then there are the lyrical themes--listeners take their so-called simplicity for granted, provided they come up to the requisite standard of conceptual excellence.
  13. Though they should've rocked out a couple times for some variation, Personal Life is a good example of a band growing up without growing old.
  14. Personal Life is absorbing and entertaining the first few times through, but many may not find it as engaging as the Thermals' best work.
  15. Like their other albums, it's a collection of spirited, guitar-forward tunes that remain upbeat, even when it seems like everything is falling apart.
  16. So song to song, Personal Life may not quite match up to its predecessors, but as a whole it is as nuanced and exciting a set as we've seen from the Thermals.
  17. Personal Life is hardly a failure; much of it is excellent. But it's also missing that anger-meets-energy urgency that made the Thermals' early albums so undeniable.
  18. There are rare glimmers here, but maturity sure is sobering.
  19. Dec 22, 2010
    60
    The Thermals are in transition, sitting awkwardly between their lo-fi roots and a clear desire to do something grander. They seem stuck at a point where their skeleton is no longer fit for purpose.
  20. Dec 22, 2010
    60
    Earworms are decidedly less abundant than normal, though, sad to say.
  21. Dec 20, 2010
    60
    Occasional similarities to Placebo may be unfortunate, but they are countered by the record's bracing directness and infectious vitality. [Dec 2010, p.109]
  22. Dec 20, 2010
    60
    It's searingly sincere, earnestly aching stuff, but when The Thermals hit the melodic bullseye, yours will be the next heart that breaks. [Dec 2010, p.94]
  23. Their fifth album deals with the at-times-taboo-for-punk subject of romantic commitment.
  24. When they get it right - as they do on half of Personal Life - The Thermals are a joy to behold.
  25. Personal Life is nothing new for the Thermals, but that doesn't mean that it's nothing to write home about. It still packs enough of a punch to please the most diehard of fans.
  26. 56
    Personal Life comes across dark, lost, and-shockingly for The Thermals-boring. At least Don and Betty Draper shared a bed for a little while.
  27. There isn't a song here that truly rises above the rest, and nothing here is as offensive as anything you'd hear at a stop on the Warped Tour.
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Sep 27, 2010
    9
    Saw the Thermals live when 'the body the blood and the machine' came out... bought the album. Saw them when 'now we can see came out'...Saw the Thermals live when 'the body the blood and the machine' came out... bought the album. Saw them when 'now we can see came out'... bought the album. Just saw them live tonight... the songs off this album were particularly awesome. My god I love this band, but I think this is their best yet. Full Review »
  2. Sep 10, 2010
    7
    'Personal Life' is a change of pace for the Thermals and is to be distinguished from their previous works. Where the group achieved greatness'Personal Life' is a change of pace for the Thermals and is to be distinguished from their previous works. Where the group achieved greatness on 'the Body, the Blood, the Machine' where high energy adrenaline pumping riffs and vocal hooks, the tunes on 'Personal Life' are slowed down and more mellowed out. Much of the result is enjoyable pop punk, but some tracks truly leave something to be desired. It seems to me that the group is trying to develop a new and more complex sound, and whilst i appreciate this ambition, the jury is still out on whether they have the requisite skills to repeat the kind of success they have had with past albums.

    For more see http://playlist-sheazy.blogspot.com/
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 7, 2010
    8
    Personal Life is my introduction to The Thermals. It's an instantly engaging collection of post punk chunks and effortlessly carries aPersonal Life is my introduction to The Thermals. It's an instantly engaging collection of post punk chunks and effortlessly carries a charismatic yet inwardly focused quality reminiscent of bands like Interpol and Mountain Goats. I'm excited by the discovery and the knowledge that this is the bands fifth full-length release, finds me eagerly seeking it's predecessors. Full Review »