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Thursday | A City By The Light Divided | review | alternative | Lollipop
A City By The Light Divided (Island)
by Clint Goulden
The only redeeming quality about war is that it often brings out the best in some of the musicians that aren't bottom-feeding from the Top 40 frenzy. Throughout their career, it's always been an enigma as to whether Thursday are more tortured by their nation's leader's decisions or their own choices (which have broken their backs, hearts, and emptied their souls. See: Signing with Island/Def Jam).
It took four albums, but Thursday have finally given their emo medals away. There are Pink Floyd pushes on their most recent album, A City By The Light Divided, which has several tendencies to be as daring and big (but half as long) as The Wall. David Gilmour might not be as deep as Roger Waters, but Geoff Rickly does a great job of interconnecting both, and that's where Thursday's bread is buttered.
But there is nothing buttery about the result, and unlike in real life, Thursday still sound as cold and unapproachable as a cafeteria lady, and if all the songs had a color, they'd be ice cube tray blue. Nothing is fuzzy or soft, but inversely, everything leaves you feeling comfortable.
When choosing between riffs to accompany Geoff Rickly's lyrics, the band always chooses the beaten path, never jumping the tracks to something that doesn't resemble their signature sound. Similarity-wise, there are no shortages; Thursday have made not just an album, but a career based on U2 comparisons, and on Divided, Baby Curtis trades in his emo stripes and black T-shirt for purple sunglasses in a full-on Bono-roo, channeling The Irishman's dusty shockwaves and a vision that finally sees into the blinding light that dares to declare screamo dead.
If the former is true, Thursday is a perfect day for a funeral, and these six Jersians seem perfectly content to carry the casket. Rather than shout their point, they dance to beautifully crafted piano silhouettes, through textured sounds and epic battles, each song stretching beyond the three minute mark handedly; and still always come up full-fisted at the end. Grandiose as they are poignant, everything kept is less punchy and more protracted than any of their prior three records combined. They're mature, but each and every one of these kids has been since junior high.
It's entirely possible that Divided edges out the overtly political War All The Time, with Andrew Everding's keyboards (why did it take so long for them to add him as a member?) putting the final punctuation on what War might have been. Full Collapse is hard to beat, but is that because it was that secular, or because it introduced us to this sound? Comparing the records to one another might be fodder for the chat rooms, but if nothing else, it services as sufficient proof that they can operate on levels entirely their own.
By the end, what these guys say starts to make a lot of sense, like a freshman slow-dancing with the quarterback at Senior prom. Only Thursday means it. And truth be told, when Rickly howls "Won't you take me home?" at the closing keys of "Autumn Leaves Revisited," there's nowhere I'd rather go than with him.