Thursday
A City By the Light Divided


5.0
classic

Review

by Max Paradise USER (18 Reviews)
July 12th, 2010 | 32 replies | 4,609 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Possibly one of the most underrated albums in popular music these days.

7 of 7 thought this review was well written

A City By The Light Divided is probably one of the most inaccessible post-hardcore albums out there. After a few solid, highly praised releases which took control of a whole genre and made it their own, Thursday decided that it was time to change. But this wasn't some huge maturation and 180 degree switch in musical direction--this is very much still the same band. It's the little things that changed. They took their vaguely unpredictable, emotionally charged brand of post-hardcore put it through a huge noise filter, absolutely drenching everything in massive, trebley cymbals and synth static. About 80% of the time on this album, there is a synth drone in the background, with guitars not so much playing chords or melodies as they are simply creating a backdrop of noise. The drums are played way down, and the cymbals amplified ten times--everything is a wall of noise.

But this isn't your gauzy, dreamlike, My Bloody Valentine wall of noise stuff. No, this is a loud, disconcerting, gut-wrenching wall of noise, with Geoff Rickly's otherworldly, powerful voice coming through on top of it all, singing some of the strongest lyrics of the decade, putting forth more emotion than can be contained. The beautiful, subdued atmosphere of "Sugar In The Sacrament" couples with vivid, genuinely unnerving lyrics about rape and lost innocence somehow cuts so close to home despite its oddly specific subject matter. Immediately following is the absolutely murderous, borderline-screamo track "At This Velocity" (hinting at Geoff Rickly's newer project, United Nations), with some of Thursday's loudest and most intense moments yet.

And here's the thing: the album never lets up. From the devastatingly emotional chorus of "Running From The Rain" to the noise-soaked ambiance of "The Lovesong Writer" to the chaos of "Into The Blinding Light," the record's emotional-release-through-noise approach hits the listener again and again with something new, powerful, and astounding. Yes, it can be hard to penetrate the ridiculous amount of layers to find the heartbreakingly desperate music underneath it all--but it is there, and when you finally dig through all of the chaos, you find Thursday at the absolute top of their game. By the time the closer, "Autumn Leaves Revisited," rolls around, it's hard to know what you're supposed to be feeling. And then that last song hits.

Sporting an almost seven-minute runtime, "Autumn Leaves Revisited" closes the album out with a massive journey, slowly building off of its somber introduction until it finally explodes into the finale of the album, reaching the even greater desperate emotional highs than the chorus of "Running From The Rain" did, throwing out deeply profound, heart-on-your-sleeve poetry such as There must be somewhere that cigarettes burn through the night, and the leaves don't abandon their trees to the light--where the sky is always clear, and the summer never ends. Won't you take me there?

This is really the best way to summarize this album, too: apocalyptic wall-of-noise production, incredible lyrics, brilliant melodies and just loads of emotion. It's easy to write this off as Thursday's "dud album," but underneath all the layers and obscured melodies, repeated listens reveal quite the opposite. Although it may be tricky, if one puts the effort in to dig deep enough into this album, you can see it for what it truly is: an absolute masterpiece, an experience that transcends description. The mood is almost similar to Godspeed You! Black Emperor's apocalyptic masterwork, F♯A♯∞, but this album adds a desperation that is absent from Godspeed's meandering soundscapes. What it really comes down to is that this album is simply as good as the genre gets, and if you haven't put in the work to really appreciate it, you should do so immediately. It is absolutely worth it.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Man, I'd forgotten I wrote a review for this album.

Pretty well written & while I can't justify anywhere near a 5, I do think this album gets way too much crap.

LiquidVelvet
July 12th 2010



628 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I thought about it, and I was like "Yaknow, maybe a 5 is too much..."
But then I listened to it again and I was like "Wow. Nevermind. This is a masterpiece." I feel like it's really easy to write this one off, but if you really put the effort in, it's extremely rewarding.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2010



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think many people have personal/individual tastes with Thursday. For example; (excluding their debut), I think 'War All The Time' is the weakest of their past 4 albums... Where-as some people think it's their best.

witchxrapist
July 12th 2010



11017 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I loooooooooooooooooooooove this album so much, it's prob their best album overall.

Not to say that specific stuffs off their older albums is better altogether, but the overall feel of this album is so much less disjointed than Waiting, Full Collapse, and War All The Time.

Looka
July 12th 2010



48 Comments


I've never listened to this album, actually. Thursday ranked besides this and Waiting, neither of which I've heard:

War All The Time > Full Collapse > Common Existence

crazyblinddude
July 12th 2010



3389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

interesting review. this album keeps growing on me, so maybe ill bump it up to a 4. its still a really solid though.

Mordecai.
July 12th 2010



8277 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah i love this album too

crazyblinddude
July 12th 2010



3389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you have a small typo is your third paragraph. you can probably find it easily if you just re-read it. i need to give this another spin though. pos btw.

Damrod
Moderator
July 12th 2010



1093 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This still is my least loved Thursday record. 5 is a bit over the top for me, but the review was indeed solid.

Gyromania
July 12th 2010



15493 Comments


The last track is my favorite

Mordecai.
July 12th 2010



8277 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the whole this is the tits except one or two songs

Chrisjon89
July 12th 2010



3515 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. I remember loving this when it was released but I chilled out on it a bit

witchxrapist
July 12th 2010



11017 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gyromania: Autumn Leaves Revisited may just be Thursday's best song... and this is coming from a long time fangirl haha.

Gyromania
July 12th 2010



15493 Comments


Witch: I could agree with that statement, although I think Running From The Rain, Understanding in a Car Crash and Division Street could all vie for best song.

witchxrapist
July 12th 2010



11017 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hole In The World

Chrisjon89
July 12th 2010



3515 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Agreed with Understanding in a Car Crash, and I loved Paris in Flames too, even though I generally hate spoken word parts.

Gyromania
July 12th 2010



15493 Comments


Eh, sometimes they're done correctly

SoapySoap
July 12th 2010



865 Comments


This is the last Thursday album I've yet to hear. I'll be sure to check this out by the end of the day.

bloc
July 12th 2010



34774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

First 2 songs plus Running From the Rain all rule.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

LiquidVelvet
July 12th 2010



628 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Autumn Leaves Revisited, Running From The Rain, and Jet Black New Year are my favourite Thursday songs, hands down.



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