While it would certainly be a stretch to single out Thursday as the definitive purveyors of post-hardcore over the past decade, it would be equally unrealistic not to single them out as one of the more interesting ones. After gaining a huge following in the early 00’s, putting out two albums on a major label, and finally settling down at punk powerhouse Epitaph records, Thursday has become one of the most renowned acts to come from that dirty three-letter word “emo.”
Settling into a more atmospheric tone, Thursday’s latest release, “No Devolción,” finds the sextet pushing their melodic, punk angst and poetic imagery into more progressive territory.
Frontman Geoff Rickly’s intense vocals are no longer front and center, instead echoing harrowingly around the songs, serving to fill out the quiet nooks throughout. Rickly’s lyrics have always been both personal and intellectual and the songs on “No Devolción,”with references to writers like David Foster Wallace and Charles Bukowski, are no exception. The album is a more distilled venture than Thursday’s prior discography, particularly in terms of thematic revenue, focusing on ideas of loyalty and devotion.
The album has few, if any, sprawling choruses to get behind and scream your guts out. While this may disappoint some longtime fans it provides a welcome change from Thursday’s past five albums. While the epic choruses are largely gone, however, the songs on “No Devolción” are never without dramatic flairs and crushing instrumentation that have come to characterize the band’s sound.
Songs like The Cure-esque “No Answer”, “Magnets Caught In A Metal Heart”, and “Sparks Against The Sun” are catchy just in their composition. The album ends with the nearly eight-minute closer, “Stay True” that steadily builds as Rickly’s voice bounces around until his pleading of, “Stay True. Nothing else matters. None of this is real,” ends the album in the bleakest sense.
Under the helm of this behemoth is Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, MGMT) who has worked on the band’s previous two albums. With that in mind, it’s no surprise how cohesive and refined “No Devolción” is. In all actuality, the album feels fuller and more intense than previous Thursday records. There are layers upon layers of melody to swim through and explore through your headphones.
“No Devolución” feels like a counter to Thursday’s 2001 breakthrough “Full Collapse,” which was chock full of inspiring lyrics, uplifting choruses, and youthful screams. “No Devolucion” is much more reserved but still rewarding. It’s the sound of a band growing, aging, maturing, and finding it all a bit sad. It’s that empty feeling that remains when you have nothing left to listen for.