Top positive review
9 people found this helpful
on February 17, 2009
Some bands, if they've been around long enough and make enough music, eventually end up making an album that sounds like a conglomerate of all their previous albums. Over the course of the first 5 songs on Common Existence, it sounds like Thursday took the energy and bleakness of songs like "For the Workforce, Drowning" or "Jet Black New Year" and mixed it with some of the straight out rock from Full Collapse, specifically "Paris in Flames" and "Cross Out the Eyes." The atmosphere of War all the Time is there and the energy of Full Collapse is impossible to miss. Common Existence just sounds like a natural and welcome progression of the bands sound.
You can hear elements of the punk, hardcore and progressive rock that has always been a part of Thursdays sound since they first emerged from the basements of New Jersey. There are high-energy tracks destined to be concert favorites like "Resurrection of a Dead Man" and "Friends in the Armed Forces." I found myself singing "For The Workforce, Drowning" (one of, if not the best songs Thursday ever wrote) after I listened to "Resurrection of a Dead Man" for the first time. It's the perfect way to start off the album. From the beginning you get a shot of energy, a sense of urgency. The mixture of hardcore and punk is back and it's a little dirtier than before. Thursday has found a way to take the two genres and craft their own sound, again, just as they did with Full Collapse. A lot of these songs sound like they could have been recorded at the same time as one of the best songs the band has ever written, "Jet Black New Year."
"Beyond the Visible Spectrum," "Circuits of Fever" and "Subway Funeral" really standout as examples of the new life and sound Thursday has found. There's a fresh sound there, something that sounds so new and yet so familiar. The heavier use of the keyboards really stands out and gives the band a new dimension, something that never felt fully explored before. Listening to "Circuits of Fever" and "Beyond the Visible Spectrum" gives the listener a sense that the band has grown. And if you've been a Thursday fan and know any of their previous material, you know it's different but at the same time, you know it's Thursday.
There's a dirtiness to Common Existence that harkens all the way back to Thursdays first album, Waiting, released nearly 10 years ago. Part of the reason for the nostalgia is the production but there's also a sense that the band is less concerned with melody and focused more on rocking out. But they still somehow find the perfect balance between the two that made Full Collapse so amazing. But it's a different mixture. "As He Climbed the Dark Mountain" and "Last Call" are great examples of how well they are able to mix hardcore, emo, punk and straight rock and roll.
The biggest things that stand out on Common Existence are the vocals and the use of the keyboards. The vocals feel less prominent than before. Geoff just doesn't sound as loud, which could be a good thing for a lot of people. Geoff has a voice that is either loved or hated, there doesn't seem to be any middle ground. On previous albums the vocals seemed to soar above the music, rising up and taking center stage. Now they feel buried a little bit within the music. Rather than standing out, they melt into the songs, mixing better with the guitars and the drums. It works well.
But what really gives this album its uniqueness is the excellent use of the keyboards. They never felt fully utilized before - at least not consistently over the course of a whole album. On Common Existence they feel more prominent and it gives the album a real shot in the arm. It adds another element to the excellent hardcore/punk sound the band has crafted, or reinvented, depending on how you look at it.
As far as I was concerned, Thursday was a dead band. I lost track of them with "A City By the Light Divided" and after "Kill The House Lights," an album that felt like a goodbye release, they stunned me with their split on Temporary Residence with Envy and have again surprised me with the quality of Common Existence. After listening to their newest album, it feels like Thursday is a band resurrected. Common Existence feels like a breath of fresh air, almost more so for Thursday themselves rather than for the listener. It's not the same Thursday I used to love, but the energy is still there and it feels like they have found a second wind, a new life.