I miss Thursday, a lot.
A transcendent, energetic live band. A host of masterful releases. A career steeped in critical acclaim, successful worldwide tours, and a lasting legacy. No matter the release, now that the book has been written, this band did very little wrong in terms of album releases.
So leave it to Geoff Rickly and company to save their best for last.
Statistically speaking, No Devolución is just the 5th most-listened to Thursday album. But let there be no mistake about it: No Devo is the best Thursday album.
It would appear that interest in the band severely waned after the release of A City By The Light Divided. No Devo is a culmination of nearly 15 years of passion and sincerity, sampling the very best from all five of their previous full-length releases.
Where No Devo is at its best is a snapshot of the previous four albums: keyboardist Andrew Everding’s influence. Of course Rickly will bring vulnerable, earnest vocals and lyrics; Tucker Rule’s drumming will manage to wade through bassist Tim Payne’s sludgy, fuzzed-out bass into prominence; and Tom Keeley and Steve Pedulla’s guitar work is some of the most creative back-and-forth work in the genre.
But beginning with War All The Time, Everding brought with him the piece missing from Thursday’s records. His keyboarding efforts added a much-needed layer of depth, even if it is at times mostly in the background. But if you were to strip down the tracks to their individual contributions and listen without keys or
On No Devo, his work is most evident on “No Answers” and “Empty Glass” – two of the most stark, bleak and moody tracks from the band to this point (and that’s saying a lot for a band that would regularly be lumped into the “emo” genre).
Their previous album, Common Existence, plays into some foreshadowing of No Devo. Production-wise, they sound fairly similar to each other, where an album like A City By The Light Divided was notoriously muddy. Parts of Common Existence were an indication of the darker but less “heavy” approach the band was attempting.
With the exception of “Past and Future Ruins” and the end of “A Gun in the First Act,” Geoff Rickly doesn’t scream nearly as much, and there is less reliance on repeated choruses. The result is a much more unconventional release – experimental in a sense, but also a tremendous analogy for their discography.
The album comes to a head with “Stay True” – a fitting and symbolic final track from a band whose influence on the genres and subgenres in which it performed can never be measured or quantified.
From “Stay True”:
Disregard those clapping hands.
They’ll turn to punches when you’re down.
Disregard the critics’ praise.
They’ll be the first to tell the news
That you’ve sold your soul.
Disregard those dollar signs.
They’ll buy the biggest house in hell
Where you’ll live alone.
Just keep your head down,
Keep your friends close,
Hold fast to your beliefs
And, whatever else you do,
To the end, Thursday did exactly what this song spells out. Major label support or not, basement show or arena tour, Billboard Top-200 success or latent, relative obscurity. At no point in the band’s career did they attempt to try to be something they weren’t, or follow in line with any of the latest fashion or musical trends.
Even if you don’t care for this type of music, you can at least respect that.
If one is to take any solace in the dissolution of such a significant, even crucial band, it should be through their lasting legacy. Even though right now they’re not a band anymore, Thursday produced some of the most heart-felt, meaningful music I’ve ever heard.
Disregard the cynics’ path.
They’ll buy a drink and laugh with you
While you trade defeats.
Disregard your fear of death.
We’ve all got a lot to lose.
Whatever else you do,
Here’s “Millimeter” from Thursday’s final (and perhaps, ultimate) release, 2011’s No Devolución:
Standout tracks: “Stay True”, “Millimeter”, “Fast To The End” and “Past and Future Ruins”
Weakest track: Seen a lot of flak for “A Darker Forest” – but whatever, I don’t buy into that nonsense. It’s moody but nothing new for this band.
RIYL: Hardcore, post-hardcore. United Nations, Glassjaw, Thrice.