Review Summary: Well-structured, unpredictable, good musicianship, satisfactory vocals & borderline melodic. Yet, this is still Post-Hardcore & maybe it’s the genre near its best!
It may sound like an overly obvious statement to make, but music can get rather boring when it is predominantly one-paced and predictable. Sure, some of the better pop music may be able to get away with it due to its catchy nature, but most musical styles cannot. The (Post-)Hardcore genre definitely falls into the latter category as when it is performed averagely, it can often seem like one big scream of a track making up an entire album.
Thursday is definitely not a band in the genre that is predictable and likes to play it safe. While their first album ‘Waiting’ was bogged down by raw production and insufficient content, you could tell that the band had potential and that something a little bit different. They prove it here on their follow-up effort ‘Full Collapse’, which arguably played a major part in bringing greater positive publicity to Post-Hardcore, as well as paving the way for similar groups in the years to follow.
The pseudo opener, 1st single ‘Understanding in a Car Crash’ is an excellent song to kick things off as it not only is impressive in isolation, but also does a great job summing up the variety of components that make Thursday an accomplished outfit. The cleaner production is apparent from the get-go, as is the trademark lyrical content. They both emphasize lead vocalist Geoff Rickly’s original voice, while the background screaming vocals are thankfully understandable. A twinkly guitar chord runs throughout effectively giving off a positive vibe to what is essentially a dark bass-driven track that isn’t afraid to get down and dirty at just the right times as well.
The effectiveness of the opener somewhat makes the following 3 tracks look borderline weak, as ‘Concealer’ is a fairly forgettable up-tempo track that thankfully is short, while ‘A Hole in the World’ is the weakest song on the album due to it being predominantly one-paced, padded out to be overlong and containing awful closing screams. These 2 tracks are split by ‘Autobiography of a Nation’, which is an ambitiously structured song that is effectively unpredictable at stages, but isn’t totally convincing because it tries to cram a little too much into its sub 4 minute duration.
Any concerns that the album may have headed downhill fast though are put to rest with the terrific 1-2 punch serving as the middle tracks of this LP. 2nd single ‘Cross Out the Eyes’ is my album highlight as it includes Rickly at his best. The chorus is especially effective as the dueling vocals work exceptionally against the changing tempo. The guitar work rounds out this terrifically intense track. And the intensity doesn’t stop there as the subsequent ‘Paris in Flames’ adds to it with very good drumming and some varying vocal techniques. Despite the aggressiveness and original structures of these 2 songs, Thursday’s skill is shown in making them rather accessible somehow. Track 8 ‘I Am The Killer’ does a decent, if not entirely convincing, job of attempting to replicate the success of the previous 2 songs.
Effectively adding a slightly slower pace, ‘Standing on the Edge of Summer’ contains that same twinkly guitar effect as the opener. It adds yet another positive vibe to a track that still isn’t afraid to hit hard with a crunching guitar riff when it is required. ‘Wind-Up’ is yet another well-structured offering as a slower 1st verse sets up a screaming chorus as the pace picks up and dueling vocals emerge. Once more, there is an accessible catchiness to this which is hard to pin down, but is very much appreciated. Pseudo-closer (excluding a distorted sound-effects track) ‘How Long is the Night’ is effective enough as the almost 6 minute piece ambitiously attempts to sum the album up in a nutshell. It’s too much too handle in all honesty and even gets a little melodramatic, but is still more than decent.
While not the most immediate album of all time, ‘Full Collapse’ is too interesting a release to discount. Listeners who are patient will be rewarded as Thursday get the best out of themselves here and hardly put a foot wrong. The musicianship is top notch throughout, while the vocals are pleasingly satisfactory and better than that once you get past the initial breaking-in factor required when listening to Rickly. But the key here is using those characteristics to make unpredictable song structures somehow accessible and occasionally melodic and memorable. I am by no means a huge fan of the genre, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is close to as good as it gets!
Recommended Tracks: Cross Out the Eyes, Understanding in a Car Crash, Wind-Up & Paris in Flames.