I was a bit late in discovering Thrice, a California rock band that's been around for more than a decade. I first heard of them via 2009's Beggars, which not only caught my ear but also my eye for its thoughtful, poetic lyrics. I soon learned that frontman Dustin Kensrue, their chief songwriter, had a thing for C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Leonard Cohen, and his excellence in taste certainly showed in his lyricism.

Kensrue's songwriting brilliance is once again on display in Major/Minor (Vagrant Records), the band's seventh studio album which releases today. To wit:

We were sons of insurrection, doomed to face the dark alone
Till vicarious perfection, dearly won, was made our own
So where's your landslide, where's your victory?
Tell me now, where's your sting?
Unassailable you waited, the great enemy of man
Till your awful jaws were sated, and we were ransomed from your hand
Now that you have been disarmed, we will cross over more unharmed

Those are the lyrics of "Disarmed," and there's a lot more where that came from.

We recently talked with Kensrue about the new album, his lyrics, his literary influences, and his new gig as worship pastor at a Mars Hill church plant in California.

What's different about Major/Minor from previous albums?

We always want to push ourselves. In the band, there's a culture of progression. We've always pushed against doing the same things over again, always wanted to do something that was interesting and challenging. I think that's what's kept us going so long.

I think every record is different from the others. We made this one in a similar way to Beggars, the last one, but it sounds pretty different. There's more of a grungy, early '90s rock vibe to some of the progression and melodies—not ...

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