April 18, 2011

Album Review: Thursday's No Devolución

To say Thursday are as relevant as ever these days would be a huge misnomer. The days of turning to your favorite "it" music blog or online zine and reading up on a quality post-hardcore band are long gone (well, unless you're here of course) and most of the fans of the New Brunswick's quintet have likely fled the scene, opting to indulge in the more "indier" sounds of whatever is playing inside their local Urban Outfitters. For those who stuck by Thursday after they fell off major label, Island Records, and headed to Epitaph (a label where stereotypically many past-their-prime punk bands go to die,) you're the lucky few chosen to witness something unlikely and odds-defying in the music industry. On their sixth full-length, No Devolución, Thursday have created something that can only be described as far too different to be called a return to form. It's not to say the post-hardcore mainstays have ever put out a really bad album, but 2008's Common Existence did give the indication that Geoff Rickly and his bandmates were comfortably settling into more-of-the-same aggro-screamo territory. No Devolución is anything but, and as Rickly advertised earlier this year, it's edgier and darker than everything since their landmark 2001 release, Full Collapse. Opener "Fast to the End" starts off sounding like a typical heavy-riffed Thursday rocker, but Rickly restrains himself from belting out some screams and opts to carry the song with a more lucid, incandescent voice than we're used to hearing from the energetic frontman. He maintains this delivery throughout No Devolución, but it's in the dramatic melodic rockers such as "A Deeper Forest," "Magnets Caught In a Metal Heart" and "Millimeter" where they seem most fitting amid the human emotion's self-turmoil. "No Answers," "Sparks Against the Sun" and "Empty Glass" flaunt the band's maturity and thinking-outside-the-genre, as they borrow from the haunting atmospheric synth inspiration of Portishead and The Cure that had been so integral to the creation of this album. Above all, the band's energy that has always been a constant throughout the 14 years of playing together peaks once again on No Devolución. There may be some who will hear a lot of Full Collapse here, but the truth is that No Devolución couldn't be any more different than the post-hardcore classic created by a few small-time punks from New Jersey a decade ago. Thursday have since grown into veteran musicians capable of more than just one dimension to their sound and it's admirable that at this stage, they're willing to take risks. In the long run, time will dictate where on the list No Devolución ranks among their loyal fans' favorites, but today, it's simply their best.

Thursday's No Devolución is available now on Epitaph Records.

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