CALIFORNIAN rock group Thrice's now-complete Alchemy Index series of concept EPs has been the perfect showcase for all the band's elements - songwriting and musicianship, the pulsating and the poignant. Completing the quartet which started last October with parts I and II, the blistering Fire andthe soothing Water, are soon-to-be-released parts III and IV, Air and Earth. I ducked out of including the first instalment in my albums of the year 2007 at the 11th hour in favour of Dillinger Escape Plan's Ire Works, but when I heard the opening tracks of Air I was blown away. Air is a continuation of more traditional Thrice fair, an alternative rock six-track section with a lighter touch that really showcases the band's technical abilities, but it's Earth that really stands out. A dustbowl of an EP, the band's songwriting really comes to the fore in the concluding chapter, with a more acoustic, country tinged sound, and tracks like MovingMountains and Come All You Weary up there as career bests.
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