The Thermals used to rock like a band on the verge of breakdown, racing each loud and rickety song toward the edge of a precipice before plunging into the next tune on the album or the set list. The Portland, Ore., indie rockers' newest album is more polished, less political and more personal, as its name suggests.
Album opener "I'm Gonna Change Your Life" probably won't shake your beliefs or even get you to shake your fist at any sort of injustice, though it will shake up your emotions with a strong and slightly self-indulgent hook. "I Don't Believe You" adopts a similar major-key approach but with a faster pace fit for fist pumping. But it's the album's fifth track that holds the most promise for the future, merging the verve of the band's older material with a world-weariness reminiscent of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.