Sound — 9
Thursday has long been a member of the so called "emo scene". While I tend to not put labels on bands, I know that they helped kick start the genre. So after ten years of existence this New Jersey sextet has put out somewhat of a retrospective CD/DVD combo. I will not be focusing on the DVD part so I will just say that it encompassess a biography of the band intermixed with live footage as well as several live performances from one of their New Jersey holiday shows. The CD kick starts with the single "Ladies and Gentleman: My Brother the Failure." Instantly I fell in love with this song. It has a sense of urgency that was missing from "A City By The Light Divided". Contrasted with a massive guitar riff and pounding drums, Geoff Rickly's voice rises and soars above the music. Cursive's Tim Kasher lends his voice to the second verse, alternating with Rickly for a few lines. The breakdown of this song reminds me of why I like Thursday. Harsh screaming mixed with soaring vocals layered between needling guitars and a crushing synth line makes for a great ending to the song. "Dead Songs" is next and is a straight ahead rocker that could have easily fit on Full Collapse or War All The Time. "Voices on a String" is next and would have sounded right at home on City. It is a somewhat mellow love song, but Thursday still manages to make it sound great. Most of the rest of the songs are just altered or live or demo versions of previous songs with a few exceptions. "The Roar of Far Off Black Jets" is an instrumnetal piece that was supposed to be on Full Collapse. "A Sketch for Time's Arrow" is an abandoned song idea that will show up on their next album. "Panic on the Streets of Healthcare City" was a demo for War All The Time and was reworked at least twice before becoming "The Other Side of the Crash".
Lyrics — 9
Lyricist Geoff Rickly has never been one to pull punches. While his lyrics are covered in metaphors he still manages to get straight to the point. "Ladies and Gentlemen" is lyrically different from most Thursday work. I can't really explain it, but if you are an avid Thursday fan you should be able to pick out what I am talking about. "Dead Songs" is standard Thursday fare with lyrics deriding the lack of substance in our everyday lives and how everything in out lives is "dead" and we derive no meaning or fullfillment from things such as television, smoking, or even our paychecks. This song also seems to be about not going with trends or things that are popular based on the ending verse which talks about how a lot of songs today sound the same. Even the demo "Panic" gets into the act with lyrics decrying the health system in America. And while many people say that Rickly can't sing I find that his voice fits perfectly with Thursday's music and I wouldn't want it any other way.
Overall Impression — 8
While I understand that this was meant to be a retrospective and that it would not contain a whole CD of new songs, I was severely disappointed by the song selection. The three new songs are top notch and deserve a place on this album, however I don't understand why the demos of "Paris In Flames" and "Wind Up" were put here when they are realistically no different than their final album versions. "Telegraph Avenue Kiss" is slightly remixed to contain a new intro and altered chorus lyrics. I would have loved to have seen some of the demos from previous albums show up here like "Christmas Bus" from War All The Time, or even compilation songs like "Mass As Shadows" and "Evacuate". They also could have put the b-sides "Ny Batteri" and "Even The Sand is Made of Seashells". However, that notwithstanding, the three new songs more than make up for the glut of semi-previously released material. And I can say that while I love the direction that the band took with A City By The Light Divided, if these new songs combined with the songs from the Envy splits are an indication of where they are going now I can only stand to be amazed by what they will accomplish.