If We Could Only See Us Now

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Thrice rose quickly from playing all-ages shows in Orange County backyards to rocking the Warped Tour and a record deal on Island. Released early in 2005, If We Could Only See Us Now chronicles the California quartet's first six years with assorted live footage and extensive interviews with the bandmembers, their people, and Thrice fans themselves. That's who this set's for anyway: the fans -- it's a holdover until the follow-up to Artist in the Ambulance, slated for August 2005. Packaged with the DVD is a nine-song EP of B-sides, live cuts, and non-LP tracks. Everything was released previously, but it's nice to have it all in one place. "Eclipse" and "Motion Without Meaning" were Ambulance bonus tracks, while the acoustic-and-strings version of "Stare at the Sun" was originally on the single for "All That's Left." Two tracks from a 2003 in-store are the highlight here. Largely acoustic, "Cold Cash, Colder Hearts" and "Artist in the Ambulance" nevertheless retain Thrice's wound-tight center. "Ambulance" is particularly revealing. Unplugged, it sounds remarkably like Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me-era Cure, updated to hit the hearts of 21st century kids with an even more urgent melody. (Those kids can be heard singing along with Thrice's Dustin Kensrue during the song's climax.) The EP fills out with covers and additional B-sides. Renditions of "Eleanor Rigby" and the Real Life's 1980s synth pop nugget "Send Me an Angel" are consumed at every turn by whining electric guitars, but a subdued live run through "So Strange I Remember You" (originally from 2002's Illusion of Safety) benefits from a vintage organ and Kensrue's pleading vocal.

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