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Classic Album Review: The Thorns | The Thorns

Matthew Sweet, Shawn Mullins & Pete Droge join forces for some summertime pop.


This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Matthew Sweet is a California power-pop icon whose hits include Girlfriend and I’ve Been Waiting. Pete Droge is a rootsy Seattle singer-songwriter who scored with the darkly funny If You Don’t Love Me (I’ll Kill Myself). Shawn Mullins is an Atlanta folkie who vaulted into the Top 10 with the Beckish Lullaby. Put these three tunesmiths together and you should get a near-perfect fusion of hooks and humour, yes? Well, sorta.

Instead of, say, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and Alex Chilton, The Thorns are more like Crosby, Stills and Nash. Or perhaps Tom Petty and The Jayhawks. On this 13-song debut disc, the guitars are as warm and breezy as an afternoon at the beach, the three-part harmonies are as pure and clear as a mountain stream, the melodies and beats are as laid-back and easygoing as a surfer on holiday, and the lyrics have all the bittersweet beauty of a Dear John letter. Ultimately, it may not add up to more than the sum of their individual parts, but if you’re looking for an above-average summertime pop record, The Thorns could hook you good.


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