Portland indie-rockers The Thermals are known for writing nerdy, two-and-half-minute punk songs with an off-handedly topical point of view. You could call their most recent albums concept records, but that’s just a fancy way of saying they’ve been relatively thematically coherent. Last year’s, Now We Can See dealt with morality, mortality and science while their 2006 record The Blood, The Body, The Machine was a more narrative affair on the intersection of organized religion, governmental authority and personal agency.
The group, led by singer-songwriter Hutch Harris, is getting ready to issue their fifth album next month. The album’s called Personal Life, and this time around, their focus is on love and relationships, the things that make relationships great, and the things that destroy them. It’s a direction hinted by the song “Separate” (issued earlier this year as one side of a split single with the Cribs), although lyrics like “separate I’m amazed I ever gave away all I held so dear” are ambiguous enough that they could just as easily be a pointed repudiation of political bipartisanship as they might be the post-break-up musings of a freshly single free-thinker.
“I Don’t Believe You” is the lead single from Personal Life, and it’s an immediately lovable bit of candidly dismissive, singalong power-pop, even if it can’t match last year’s “Now We Can See” in either recklessly energetic dorkery or googly-eyed catchiness. Click below to hear the song for yourself. In addition to releasing the song as a good old-fashioned 45 (with a download card that includes two bonus videos), the band’s label Kill Rock Stars is currently offering the song for free download at their site. (Thank you Kill Rock Stars. You’re awesome.)