By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
"Fuckin' A" may be the most wonderfully ridiculous expletive around these days. Is it self-censorship of that unutterable "A"? What is the "A," anyhow? And if it stands for the less-offensive "ass," why not say "Effin' Ass?
The Thermals may be the most wonderfully ridiculous punk rockers around these days, so it's fitting that their new album, Fuckin A, is titled after that etymologically confusing curse. Like their album title, the Thermals are brief, satisfying and, when given a second glance, they don't quite make sense. Hutch Harris' snide vocal inflection seems better suited for emo (a road not taken, thankfully), and the fury of the band often threatens to quash the melodic arc of its songs. And the Thermals' lyrics won't be winning the Punk Pulitzer any time soon -- consider this couplet from the album-opening "Our Trip": "We're taking grip, we're talking shit/Our slate is clean, say what you mean."
But since when do rock lyrics make sense, anyway? What matters is the overall effect, and it says a lot about the energy and prowess of the Thermals that they can take essentially meaningless lyrics and turn them into something powerful. This is punk rock for pop fans (or vice-versa), and give the Thermals a (fuckin) A+ for bridging the gap once again.