Review Summary: Thursday's magnum opus and potential swan song.
Whether or not the comparisons are fair, Thursday’s No Devolución
transports me back to 2005 when Thrice overhauled their sound with Vheissu
, or when Brand New suddenly grew up, realized life’s futility, and screamed about it on The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
. It would be unfair to hold Thursday in the same regard considering that not even a full year has transpired since its release, but in terms of the evolution’s pure magnitude, this album proves
that they belong in the conversation. Just like how Thrice went from post-hardcore nuts to alt-rock experimentalists, Thursday went through a nearly inconceivable growth spurt of their own. 2009’s Common Existence
prophesized No Devolución
’s arrival, but it was nowhere near as well-executed and it lacked the atmosphere to propel the band to greatness. That’s where Thursday’s latest record comes in, rewarding loyal fans with the best and most inspired work of their career.
is a brilliant fusion of post-hardcore, emo, and alternative rock that takes all of the flashes of maturity from previous albums and conjures up something profound and seamlessly atmospheric. The leap in progression is startling, as the opener ‘Fast to the End’ swirls around you in ominous clouds of grey, not unlike the album’s artwork. Rapid and varied drum patterns drive each song, covering them in a thick, muggy air along with singing/screaming/humming vocals and technical riffs that are heavy on the reverb. It is worth noting that No Devolución
was recorded in one week, and the resultant chemistry can be felt during every transition. Cohesiveness plays a large role on this album, tying everything together under one dark, sprawling umbrella that refuses to resign itself to redundancy at any point. Each song has something unique and identifiable only to it
: the chorus to ‘No Answers’, the minimalist soundscape on ‘Empty Glass’, the horn intro of ‘A Gun In the First Act’, and the raucous screams of ‘Turnpike Divides’ are but a few instances of the changes Thursday implement to keep things fresh. Simply put, there is no time to drift off during No Devolución
– it’s a distinguished, full throttle tour-de-force of alt-rock with enough ideas to keep you captivated and enough emotion to get you attached.
Speaking of emotion, there is a great deal of despair on No Devolución
. The title quite literally means “no return”, which is not only an allusion to the band’s ensuing “indefinite hiatus”, but also to the glumly resonating, downwards-tumbling ambiance of tracks such as ‘A Darker Forest’ and ‘No Answers.’ Front man Geoff Rickly’s marriage was on the rocks around the time the album was recorded, resulting in a heavily passionate but ultimately broken aura – and it wouldn’t be out of the question to infer that the band’s imminent breakup played a role as well. All of No Devolución
’s underlying negativity was put to use, though. Meaningful lyrics are nothing to be surprised by here, featuring thoughtful passages such as “I’m holding on to nothing” and “Disregard those clapping hands, they’ll turn to punches when you’re down.” Once again, there’s nothing here meant to lift your spirits - but that honesty is also one of the record’s greatest assets. Thursday sugarcoats nothing, leaving us feeling lost, shattered, and desparate…and if there’s one thing listeners don’t need any more of these days, it is feigned silver linings.
is the exit album that every band facing its demise should try to create. It is bold and uninhibited, but not alienating to its fans. It experiments by pursuing a wide range of musical styles in a kind of “leave nothing on the field” mentality, resulting in the most diverse recording in their entire catalog. Simply put, this is Thursday putting it all on the line one last time…and between the gorgeous vocal passages, the all-consuming atmospheres, and the overall depth of the lyrics, it should and most likely will go down as the towering achievement of Thursday’s illustrious career. Every truly exceptional movie or play aspires to end on a high note – something either cathartic or inspiring to be remembered by. If the same goes for music, then No Devolución
couldn’t have come at a better time. Thursday’s swan song – and their magum opus – marks an incredible departure that will resonate in the halls of post-hardcore and alternative rock for a long, long time.
No Devolución, indeed.