Thursday - Common Existence
After A City By The Light Divided I feared the Thursday I had once known and loved was gone. However Common Existence not only revives my faith in them, but accelerates it to new heights. Perhaps this is somewhat hasty of me, but I think I have to declare this the Best Thursday Album. I am a long time fan of the band, and have some serious emotional connections to Full Collapse and War All The Time , but this album just fulfills my every need, and came at a time when I was desperate for new music.
The album opens with the track "Resuscitation of a Dead Man" which is the perfect titled. This track along with the first few tracks is exactly that. They bring you back to classic Thursday, and it's a breath of fresh air after A City By The Light Divided. In the second track "Last Call" we can hear a bit of a mix between what the band is moving towards creatively and reminder of who they are circa War All The Time . The track is almost the perfect mixture of the two and is a foreshadow to the new material to come later in the album.
The next track is called "As He Climbed The Dark Mountain" and it fits right in with the first two, displaying classic Thursday. This song is most memorable for its outstanding yet simple guitar riff during its epic chorus, which will be sure to get stuck in your head. From there we move to the song "Friends In The Armed Forces" which starts simply enough, with driving guitar and loud drums. When the vocals come in the song really opens up. This song really showcases the creativity of Geoff, as we hear the song title yelled in a different tone and melody than what is common place for Thursday, but it works great.
What I have yet to touch on in this album is the lyrics. The instrumentation on the album is enough to praise it, so I will use that to recommend you listen. The lyrics are outstanding, and I'll leave it as that, if you want to hear them, you should listen to the album.
The next song on the album is entitled "Beyond The Visible Spectrum" and it's our first true glance at the new direction of the band. It isn't the most outrageous sound change, and the chorus certainly keeps us grounded, but you can hear the difference in the song writing coming through in this track. Even through choice of instruments you can hear the change, and of course though melody, dynamics, and tone. The end of the song moves more towards a ballad, with repetitive vocals and some ambience, including an outstanding guitar melody which really transitions the album. This track is the break through, where the scene is set for the rest of the album.
The next track "Time's Arrow" starts acoustic and is somewhat reminiscent of "Falling Bomb" from War All The Time. When the band opens this song up, the direction and movement of the album is clear, and it is perfect. The use some reverse effects, along with some interesting tones to play out some ambience in the song until it eventually subsides into the next track. "Unintended Long Term Effects" is the next track, and this track is used to keep us in tune with the classic Thursday sound. I've been using that a lot, "The Classic Thursday Sound", and this is because I'm not sure how else to explain it. They have always been more than a punk post hardcore emo band, and though tons of acts have tried to imitate them, no one has ever come close. With that being explained... this track begins with that classic sound, but it is a short track, only about two minutes.
Then the album moves back into its more experimental mood with "Circuits of Fever". Right away we here a guitar line and tone not typical to the band. The vocals come in with an interesting echo effect, and stay through the song. Although being a heavier song at points this track remains on a low level due to its slower movement and ambient guitar lines, which gives it a unique feel. About half way through, the song breaks into a familiar pop tune, and hangs there for a minute only to brutally interrupt itself and jump into a new structure, combining the pop sound with the ambience and heavier parts of the song.
The next track is called "Subway Funeral" and it is lead into by the sounds of the rails before immediately exploding with sound upon the track change. This track again emulates the classic Thursday sound, to keep us grounded. After a break down the music cuts out to one guitar and vocals, which really helps the song to hold its own on the album, which is a daunting task. The build up is incredibly orchestrated and the perfect touch to bring the song to its close. The song ends only to lead us to what may be my favorite track on the record "Love Has Led Us Astray".
This track has a nice groove to it, yet remains an interesting experimental piece. Before getting to loud, the song cuts to the chorus, with a clean guitar and the title sung. This is the first song that caught my ear as I played the album the first couple times in the background of my life. After the second empty chorus they move to a full band loud repetition of the chorus and then some. The song ends on that note leading us to the last track on the album "You Were The Cancer". This track opens withs almost a creepy vibe to it, setting the mood for the vocals. The song is an epic representation of Common Existence , and is the perfect ending to a great album.
I think overall the album does a great job of easing fans into a slight creative change in format by the band. A redemption from A City By The Light Divided , a tribute to War All The Time , and an expression of new creativity and artistic behavior that I can only commend. A great treat on this album that had been lacking especially with their most recent release, and slightly on all their releases, is that this album is produced flawlessly. The only flaw I see is that it's not an immediate attention grabber, although many fans and music enthusiasts will see past that I fear it will hurt the overall success of the album, I urge you to all give it a few listens before you pass your judgments.