“Fuckin’ a” may be the most wonderfully ridiculous expletive around these days. Is it self-censorship of that unutterable a? And what the hell is the a, anyhow? If it stands for the not-all-that-offensive ass, then why not just say effin’ ass?
But given that the Thermals may be the most wonderfully ridiculous punk rockers around these days, it’s fitting that the group’s latest album, Fuckin A, is titled after that etymologically confusing curse. Like the album title, the Thermals are brief, satisfying and — given a second glance — 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. The Thermals’ lyrics won’t be winning the band a Punk Pulitzer any time soon, either — 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 band that the Thermals can take 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.