Review Summary: Thursday step back into the genre with one of the most compelling and engaging post-hardcore releases in recent years.
Preceding the release of Thurday's latest full-length record, Geoff Rickly took careful time in preemptively warning fans about its style. It may have been a slightly impulsive move however, as ‘No Devolución’ is, almost clinically speaking, the most logical progression the band could have taken after ‘Common Existence’. Certainly, the record wouldn't be out of place sandwiched between Mogwai and the Cocteau Twins in a CD collection, though it’s comforting to know that the remainder of their discography isn't too far behind it. Essentially (and unsurprisingly), the record is a synthesis of past and present, pumping a clenched fist in demand for evolution. Brand New's ‘Deja Entendu’ pointed a finger at their peers, tongue firmly in cheek. ‘No Devolución’, however, sounds more like an opus, suggesting that Thursday are once again peerless in the post-hardcore landscape they've helped to shape.
Distilling influences into something original is far from a fresh practice, and Thursday certainly aren’t breaking new ground in this field. A quick look at current prefix-core trends reveals a prevalence of electronic stimuli - I See Stars and Attack Attack! among others. The blame for this can in part be given to Refused, a band that ushered in a renaissance in hardcore - at times for worse rather than for better. What easily differentiates Thursday from the rest is their careful and tasteful selection of influences. Rickly isn't done with Refused (United Nations saw him shrieking "Dennis, are you listening?/Is there something that I'm missing?"), but branching out into post-rock and pop appears to have been the best decision for the growth of his band.
To broadcast this, the album opener ‘Fast to The End’ is deceptive in the way it plays out. Beginning with the destructive, sweeping guitars of ‘Full Collapse’, it segues into Rickly and his shoegazing vocal work. It's yelling a different kind of heaviness to 01’ era Thursday - Instead of sinusoidal guitarwork fractured raggedly into spikes, ‘Fast to the End’ hits as an unbroken wall. Every present instrument swells into a towering wave, which shimmers as it shatters to Rickly singing "ice crystals on the windscreen". ‘No Answers’ continues in this same vein, and what immediately becomes apparent is that Thursday are a band suddenly much more familiar with the direction they want to go in. ‘Common Existence’ gave us a lead track that soared and fell like a sawtooth, and that pattern continued cyclically throughout the record. Fans would be hard pressed seeing the same thing in ‘No Devolución’.
Quite distinctly, the record showcases a balance of light and motion. The buoyant tracks and the slightly more broody ones are stirred together - indistinguishable from each other, yet doubtlessly pervasive in equal amounts. ‘Turnpike Divides’ is one of the more kinetic tracks of the record. Energetic gang vocals push into a quick lacerative blow of screaming, catharsis finally realised at the bridge. “Magnets Caught In A Metal Heart”, however, seems antithetical to this. While being the first track given to the fanbase, it is one of the most distinctive. Reminiscent of Deerhunter at times, “Magnets” is airy and free flowing by nature, anchored only by the selectively tight plucking of guitar strings. Geoff is similarly spacey in his vocalization of it, and refrains from letting himself sound anything but dream-like. Alongside “Magnets”, the divine melodies Geoff catches are highlighted within every track. In "Gun in the First Act", he effortlessly appeases the dirty guitarwork with a saccharine croon unheard of in their previous efforts. Textured elements of 4/4 percussion splinter behind him, steering everything into the deafening choral apex.
What resulted from Thursday’s weeklong writing session was one of the most cohesive and seamless records the band has put out to date. There is no pivot or point of origin, nor a specific ‘centerpiece’ – each sound is much too organic to be pulled away from the rest. After an illustrious decade of seeing so-called devolución, Thursday step back into the genre with one of the most compelling and engaging post-hardcore releases in recent years. It would be remiss of anyone, detractor or fan alike, to overlook all of this new noise when faced with it so palpably.