Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday album review

Common Existence

Serious as a heart attack, Thursday emerged from the East Coast post-hardcore scene in ‘97 and immediately stood out from the pack, thanks to its complex time signatures and literary minded lyrics (singer Geoff Rickly counts authors David Foster Wallace, Martin Amis and Cormac McCarthy as inspirations). Many fans were taken aback by the experimental tack of 2006’s impressive A Light By the City Divided, where the New Jersey group worked with producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, MGMT) and the screamo elements were downplayed.

Not anymore. They team up again here and the results are mixed. Rise Against’s Tim McIllrath guests on a solid, tension-filled “Resuscitation of a Dead Man,” where Rickly yelps about wanting inside an ambulance. The muscular thrust of “Friends in the Armed Forces,” featuring Quicksand’s Walter Schriefels, revolves around war casualties as Rickly shouts that he’s “sick of tying yellow ribbons around trees.” Exotic keyboards, treated vocals and melodic washes of sound on “Beyond the Visible Spectrum” make for a welcome change of pace. Same goes for the haunting, reverb-heavy “Love Has Led Us Astray,” where Rickly is front and center, intoning “you float like a wreath in a riverbed.”

“Time’s Arrow,” with backward loops, luxuriously dense sonics and echoey vocals could almost be a Radiohead outtake. From there, it’s by-the-numbers screamo (“Subway Funeral,” “You Were the Cancer”) and hard-hitting, but average anguish (“Unintended Long Term Effects”).

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