Yet another band to go on hiatus in recent years, Thrice, came back to life with a new album in 2016. The album, To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere, is the band’s first new album in five years. Thrice has very finicky fans, some of the hardest to please I think. And they can be split into three basic camps; those who feel they can do no wrong, those who hate anything that doesn’t sound like their early, harder albums, and those who prefer their later, less edgy sound. Whatever camp you fall in there is no doubt Thrice fans have very high expectations, which only sets up most of them to be let down. At this stage in their career it’s unrealistic for them to make an album that harkens back to the First Impressions or Identity Crisis era. But that doesn’t stop the hate anything that doesn’t sound like their early, harder albums camp from making their disgust known.
Some people actually felt like Thrice just churned out a “dad rock” album after hearing To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere’s first single, “Blood On The Sand.” Which couldn’t be further from the truth. And I’m not even going to go into how unfair it is to judge an album by one song, especially its first single before the album is even released. Yes, this latest Thrice album is far from First Impressions and Identity Crisis, but it’s by no means a bad album. It follows in the vein of their more recent work.
The vinyl version of the album sold out of its first pressing pretty quickly, but it was still slow by Thrice standards. When pre-orders first went up on March 24, 2016 only one variant was available; “smoke” 180 gram limited to 1,000 copies. This variant was only available through Thrice’s official pre-order hosted by Music Today/Delivery Agent, a relatively unknown store host. By all accounts that merchant is terrible. The smoke variant cost $20 before shipping
The smoke variant sold out in less than one day, and almost immediately after it sold out another variant was put up for sale; black 180 gram, also limited to 1,000 copies. There is some debate on how many black copies actually exist. When the black pre-rder first went up it said “limited to 1,000 copies,” but that was later removed. The band themselves also advertised the black 180 gram as being limited to1,000 copies. Seeing as how quickly black disappeared I think it’s safe to it actually is limited to 1,000 copies. Sales immediately slowed after the black copies went up, as other online retailers started putting up cheaper pre-orders. You have to admit, it’s a clever sales tactic; release the variants one at a time without ever announcing how many variants there will be, all increase sales by making people think there will be only one variant.
Eventually the black copies sold out online too, but a big part in that was some black copies were sent out to indie record stores. I don’t think any online distros received copies, as it was impossible to find online. Amazon had a pre-order for it, but I don’t think they were able to fulfill anyone’s orders, they just kept people waiting for something that it sold out and will be on back-order for a long time. A severely limited amount was sent to physical stores though, as they’re all sold out and did so in a matter of days, I doubt any stores had copies last for a week.
When pre-orders started shipping many people were disappointed with how the “smoke” turned out. The smoke variant is basically grey marble. Other bands/labels have released smoke variants in the past, and they’re generally clear with various shade of grey and black swirled in. This “smoke” variant is very far from that.
Going back to how terrible the merchant hosting Thrice’s pre-order is, there were some major problems. Many people received the wrong variant, some who ordered smoke received a black copy. And their customer service was hit or miss. They sent some people out the proper smoke variant they ordered without having the customer return the black copy, they took a long time to respond to some people about an exchange, they told some people to return the black copy in order to receive the correct smoke copy. The wrong variant problem eventually got so bad the merchant ran out of smoke copies to give to people who ordered them in the first place. Those people were basically SOL, as they didn’t offer refunds for people who wanted to return it.
And if all that wasn’t enough a third variant was announced well after the smoke 180 gram and black 180 gram sold out; Thrice would be selling a tour variant on their summer tour. The tour exclusive is on teal 180 gram. Pressing info for the tour variant was never released, and so far the band has had copies on all the stops. However, there was some miscommunication about the tour variant being sold out, as Dustin apparently announced at the Orlando date it was sold out, but that was obviously wrong as they were still selling copies at dates after the Orlando show. Why he would say something blatantly wrong is beyond me, but maybe he meant they sold out of their allotted copies for that specific show. That is the most likely explanation, but there is a problem with that theory as well, as they weren’t limiting how many copies a person could buy at any stops on the tour prior to the Orlando date. Many people posted online, with one person even admitting to it, that people were walking around venues with five copies of the tour variant.
As expected, many tour variants wound up on ebay, where they sold for over $80. The smoke variant was also ebay gold, as they sold for over $70. Many people even bid up black copies to over $40 after the realization sunk in that the album may be sold out and OOP. Because I purposely held off on pre-ordering/buying this album with the expectation of buying a black copy for well below retail price at a gem of a site I found that routinely has great discount codes on records already listed below retail price, I too had to resort to ebay to buy this album. But I only spent $20 including shipping on it, which is less than I would’ve spent had I pre-ordered it from Thrice’s official pre-order. Sadly it’s not the $13 I would’ve spent had that online distro been able to get copies, but I still came out ahead.
All copies come with an insanely nice booklet along with a download card. The booklet is 22 pages long and is as big as it can get (size wise), likely 11″x 11″ (I’m not going to measure it). Because of the booklet the record jacket is oversized. It comes in one of those overzied double LP jackets, you know the ones, the ones where the label is too cheap/greedy to spring for a gatefold jacket but still wants to overcharge for the release. The booklet has the lyrics, with each song getting its own page. Other imagery is found inside the booklet too, typical Thrice artistic randomness, as you can see in the photos below. Christopher King of This Will Destroy You was responsible for the art direction of the album. Instead of traditional binding the booklet it actually sewn together, with the stitching showing on the cover and back cover. It’s also important to note that the colored and black variants each have their own respective hype sticker. The hyper sticker on the colored variants (smoke and teal marble) say “limited colored vinyl” while the black variant makes no mention of color or being limited.