25 May 2018 (released)
The Thirds make it quite clear from the get-go that if you don't have a certain screw loose, this album isn't for you. If you're a clean cut, jock type looking for smooth predictable choruses and songs about drinking and hookups, this isn't for you. It's right there in the title, Dork Matter. It's there in the first sampled quotes about nerds to start the album. The Thirds makes no mistake about their target audience.
On their second album, the band dish out their unique lo-fi garage rock that pumps and sputters, under sarcasm drenched vocals. The aesthetic brings to mind a certain face of Nirvana. Not the polished Butch Vig produced anthems but rather the wonderfully bumbling chaos of Incesticide or other outtakes. On this album, the group has spruced itself up with added harmonies inspired by the Beach Boys, though sun-kissed California evenings are not the image that comes to mind.
There is a marked upward trajectory to the album. You are introduced quite unassumingly to the band's ethos with the movie quote proclamation in the intro track 'Buncha Nerds', “It's about a bunch nerds who work out stupid codes together, they do stupid crap like this to make themselves feel special”. It moves into the slowly churning riff of 'Say a Few'. Deprecating lyrics juxtaposed with sardonically chirpy background la-la-las. The track has more than a few hints of ADHD with it stopping and starting for brief noisy asides.
The style appears jarring and cluttered at first but by the time you reach the fifth track 'Maybe', their kooky unmetered timing grows on you and the most effective hooks on the album come on this breezy summer alt-rock tune. The closer 'Antimatter' leads off with a sample of Star Trek's Worf bitching to Riker about the cacophony of jazz, a fitting prelude to what follows which is a frenetic, noisy cauldron spewing untethered thoughts and feelings. The nebulous tune is by far the album's best, showing an expansion of their sonic abilities.
The Thirds bounce between crunchy and somewhat mundane garage rock and moments of musical transcendence. The songs are brief, rarely lingering beyond a couple of minutes, always leaving you questioning how you felt about what you just heard rather than hitting you over the head with it. Dork Matter is an acquired taste but for those in the right circles, it's just the ticket.