Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thursday - 'No Devolución'

When it was released in 2009, Common Existence felt like a tentative step towards a new style for post-hardcore mavericks/screamo survivors Thursday. That record had plenty of throwback moments like “Resuscitation of a Dead Man,” but it also hinted at a more post-rock/shoegaze direction for the band. No Devolución confirms Common Existence as a transitional record, as there is very little to connect this new album to Full Collapse. This new album pulls in bits and pieces of Envy, The Cure, and Ride. Aided greatly by David Fridmann’s production, it’s a new, ethereal beginning.

Fittingly, the album title translates from Spanish to “no returns.” Common Existence was a tentative step forward; No Devolución is the clear break from tradition. “Fast to the End” seems like the propulsive opener Thursday fans would expect, but something seems off. Frontman Geoff Rickley’s voice sound different – there’s more singing than screaming. The guitars have a more ethereal quality, and even when they go into metal dynamics, there’s still a muted quality to them. Everything blurs together into a swirling haze. There are even moments where the vocals fade into the guitars, making shoegaze comparisons even more relevant.

The one guy who comes out of this looking good is bassist Tim Payne. The low end on No Devolución is stellar, and for all its’ ambience, the songs still have a groove to them. Whether or not that’s all thanks to Payne or the way Fridmann blends together all the instruments can’t be certified, the low end here sure is enticing.

At 53 minutes, though, No Devolución might be a chore for some. It’s Thursday’s least accessible album, a haunting mess about identity crises and relationship issues that encapsulate the entirety of (common) existence. The songs blur together after a while, and while there are some deviations (Oh, this one has more piano!), generally the tunes are of the spooky lovelorn variety. And sometimes it would be nice to hear Rickley let loose a scream; "Open Quotes" sounds limp without one.
No Devolución is a fine record, but it marks a big departure for Thursday. It is not anthemic. It is not emo. It is not rocking. But is a great little something to slip on late at night, and yet another quality effort that will probably alienate half the band’s fan base while attracting new fans and maybe even winning back old ones.

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