Sound — 8
Thursday is like the worst day of the week -- you already got tired of working three days straight and there are two more to come till Friday night -- you can get an unhappy feel just thinking of this. The band that named themselves Thursday knows what it's like, producing albums full of post-hardcore pain, desperation and feeling pity for themselves one after another. The new compilation of sorrowful susceptibilities is called after a poem by Octavio Paz "City By The Light Divided" and is the band's fourth album since 1999. According to the new material (with lyrics like "Can anyone hear me now... and no one hears at all"), the guys are still struggling through life with enormous intensity. With help from Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mogwai, Sleater-Kinney) they produced this emo energy into music that would sell once again. The first part of the album is gloomy and hash -- like highly infectious first single "Counting 5-4-3-2-1." A lot of songs follow the same structure -- they start peaceful and quiet, then bit by bit then it gets louder as the band adds one layer after another. "Sugar In The Sacrament" would be the best example -- at one point the instruments and vocals mess into a furious agony, burn in ecstasy, getting to crescendo peak and suddenly explodes with silence, leaving your ears chiming. After such an intense ear attack, they refuse to accept sounds and everything merge into noise. If you're not into noise, you might get a headache after listening to the record, feeling yourself like one of those old ladies who happen to hear a rock band at a family holiday. Some tracks balance between yelling and whispering, facing the battle between the light and darkness. There are a lot of sonic quiet sound and acoustic guitars (for light) in verses and clashing electric guitars (for darkness) in choruses. Heavy bass lines make the sound of a super bass effect on your stereo. Drums are loud, especially in choruses and there are and lot of crash. A whole lot of crash! The second part surprisingly reveals some optimism. Like "At This Velocity" which has a nice breakdown with drum solo and screamo, and suddenly turns into a major key half-way though. Some tracks sound like they're overloaded; it's often more noise, than music. But noise as a part of music. After the ferocity of the tracks, the record slowly dies with "Autumn Leaves Revisited" in the end.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics have different interesting plots and are thrilling. Singer Geoff Rickly makes up songs of beautiful phrases that draws vivid images in your head. There are no cheesy popularity-oriented hooks or rubber stamps. In his songs Rickly calls for help with "Please someone help me, take away my loneliness/Please someone fill me, take out my emptiness," using music as a place to put his minor feelings to. Unlike Thursday's previous records, here Rickly uses much less of the not-very-popular-now screamo, replacing it with blasting guitars and pounding drums. Though now there's even more passion and yearning in vocals.
Overall Impression — 8
It's obvious Thursday are skilled and experienced at what they do and "City By The Light Divided" is their best record up-to-date. It's great that after 9 years of existing the guys still find strength to expand musically and produce powerful records. Their refined songwriting makes you get exactly each emotion that they put into a song. They experience with song structures and textures, making them to express a whole profusion of feeling. But still there's something they need to archive. Or maybe it's already too late to archive it? The band's sound feels a bit stuck in early 2000. The album would probably be a huge success back in the days of Linkin Park, but now it carries that old-fashioned emo that doesn't really fit today's standards.