Thursday seeks comeback
Taking into consideration that the band Thursday alienated many fans with 2006’s disappointing album A City by the Light Divided, it’s an understatement to say there’s a lot riding on Common Existence, the New Brunswick group’s fifth full-length Feb. 17 release.
A City by the Light Divided took the band’s previously aggressive and energetic sound and transformed it into an experimental and scatter-brained mess. However, they’ve taken a different approach to their music lately. With new songs released on the 2007 release Kill the House Lights, along with songs on the 2008 split with Envy, they’ve made a conscious effort to bridge the gap between their old, more aggressive sound and their more experimental, new sound.
Common Existence kicks off with ‘Resuscitation of a Dead Man,’ which as a first single and album opener falls flat in many places. Singer Geoff Rickley has always had a more raw and unconventional vocal method, but there doesn’t seem to be a clear vision on many of the songs. Songs such as ‘Beyond the Visible Spectrum’ and ‘Circuits of Fever’ are other examples of inconsistent tracks.
Another slip-up concerning Thursday is the band’s choice in production duties. Dave Fridmann, who has handled duties for the Flaming Lips and Mogwai, has helmed their last two major releases. Fridmann is by no means a bad producer, but his ability to create a more space-rock feel doesn’t seem to mesh all too well with Thursday’s sound. That said, Fridmann has done a fairly decent and a much better job of capturing the band’s element this time around.
The album does have its fair share of plunder. ‘Last Call’ borrows style tips from 2002’s ‘Jet Black New Year,’ with a highly climactic bridge. ‘Time’s Arrow’ is another gem, and Thursday’s best U2 impression, complete with electronic flourishes and delay pedals. ‘Unintended Long Term Effects’ and the soon to be fan-favorite ‘Subway Funeral’ are some of Thursday’s best work since ‘War All the Time.’
In retrospect, Thursday may have held onto more fans had they released Common Existence in between the releases of 2003’s War All the Time and A City by the Light Divided. That could have been a smoother progression.
Common Existence falls flat several times, but is a more cohesive and consistent effort and will surely comfort old fans and garner new ones.