Kill The House Lights
UG Team, on november 09, 2007 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Thursday's latest release Kill The House Lights might seem a little familiar to some in terms of the tracks on the CD portion, but there is enough bonus material found on the bonus DVD disk that it should still be embraced by fans. It's being released primarily as an album featuring 9 assorted demos, live tracks, and B-sides, but there are 3 brand new tracks included as well. While all of the songs on the CD are technically unreleased and a fairly interesting addition to the band's library, it's the bonus DVD documentary that is what is the true highlight.
You may have already heard some fans voice their concern that the audio CD on Kill The House Lights doesn't showcase enough new material. Among the demo titles are Paris In Flames and Wind-Up, which don't necessarily stray that much from the originals on the release Full Collapse. Wind-Up does feel a little bit more stripped down, but it's not a huge departure. A new Rick Costey mix of Telegraph Avenue Kiss from A City By The Light Divided earns a spot on the CD, and once again, it is not that different from the original. While the subtle changes are likely to be embraced by the band's biggest devotees, there are still others that might find themselves going straight to the DVD for the freshest material.
The newest songs on the CD portion do prove the band is really perfecting their songwriting, featuring some of the strongest riffs that Thursday has put out yet. Among the new songs, Ladies And Gentlemen: My Brother, The Failure is the standout, thanks to driving riff that leads off the track. The singing also takes precedence over the screaming for the song up until the end, and that allows for a bigger finale. Thursday is not a band that will click with everyone, and some might even argue that Rickly's voice isn't the strongest at times, but in terms of the new material added into the mix, Kill The House Lights should leave fans satisfied.
The DVD portion could have been released completely independently of the audio CD, and it still would have still been a viable product. You get an in-depth look at Thursday's history, from the day they all met each other to band withstanding criticism from an unsatisfied record company. A lot of the information may be common knowledge to some fans by now, but it's still pretty interesting hearing some anecdotes retold. In one instance, several band members recall how there was a general consensus that vocalist Geoff Rickly was completely tone deaf in the early days. In another scene, you're shown one of the band's first performances in Rickly's cramped basement. For being such a young band (give or take about 10 years), Thursday did a great job of providing an ample of amount of old footage to support the storytelling aspect of the DVD. // 8
Lyrics: Thursday doesn't deliver the usual generic lyrical content, and that fact has probably been a big reason why it has clicked with so many fans. On Dead Songs Rickly sings, Dead breath from TV sets fill the empty houses with a dead white light; It's no surprise; Dead checks, dead sex; Dead cigarettes flood the ambulance in the dead of night. There is an incredible visual aspect to a lot of Thursday's songs, and when you combine that with Rickly's charismatic stage presence, that equals a very enthralling show. While some songs like Paris In Flames do tend to get a bit contrived (Forget my face; Forget my name; Because it's going to rain), in general Thursday usually produces quality lyrics. // 8
Overall Impression: When you look at the release as a whole, Kill The House Lights makes for a pretty well-rounded release. Had the audio CD been the only thing released, there may have been some disappointed customers. Considering that it's being released for the price of a CD, Kill The House Light's CD/DVD combo is an amazing bargain. You get a full-length documentary along with a 45-minute long concert, and for a lot of fans, that makes it all worth it right there. // 9
Kill The House Lights
unregistered, on january 26, 2009 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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". // 9
Lyrics: 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. // 9
Overall Impression: 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. // 8