From SF Weekly's print music section:
The Thermals: The Thermals' charm has always been in their feistiness. Casting off rounds of power pop that cracked like cap gun shells, they'd grin while tackling the sorest topics: confusion and disgust for the Dubya days, death, fanaticism, and the apocalypse. "A Pillar of Salt," from 2008's The Body, the Blood, the Machine, paired a bubblegum-sticky hook with a narrative about running away from a vengeful deity. Frontman Hutch Harris' conversational, nasal call has never possessed much in the way of nuance, so he'd prove a point by shouting vigorously. Not every Thermals moment was bathed in glee, but when they moved, they did so with enough energy to convince you that we'd all make it through the gloomiest hours.
This latest album, on the other hand, orbits a dismal subject (an ailing relationship) without incorporating any playfulness to offset the fatigue.