Last time I sat down to write a blog in this series – https://heavyandwierd.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/bands-artists-that-i-love-dearly-but-never-really-talk-about-volume-one-life-of-agony/ – I took a long hard look at my music collection to make sure that I put a spotlight on bands and artists that I listen too religiously but rarely ever name drop or discuss as a band / artist that I love. I guess it was an exercise in what the young and beautiful refer to as a “guilty pleasure.” I don’t like to participate in that nonsense however. Nothing I listen too or purchase is an exercise in guilt. I research and invest all of myself into it. I suppose the reason why guilt may enter into the equation is because a lot of people, not everyone, can be judgemental with both their ears and their eyes. It’s a laugh considering that most of these people pride themselves on individuality yet they still make judgements and assumptions based on information provided to them by the media and other minds as opposed to investing in “individuality” and making a valued assessment based on knowledge. The band that I’ve chosen to spotlight in volume two of this Blog series is the amazing and the wonderful post-hardcore / emo / rock band “Thursday.”
There is so much to love about the band Thursday. My first encounter with the band was in 2003 when their song “Signals Over The Air” was being played religiously on all the cable TV music channels. At the time I had just moved to Brisbane and the house I was living in (with T.French and his sister Jem) had cable TV. It gave us brilliant access to the wide range of music channels on offer. Anyway, Thursday seemed to be a band that I saw a lot of. I was drawn to it instantly. It was a distorted and even more emotional version of The Cure. I loved the lyrics and as juvenile as they appeared I could tell that there was some serious poetry motivating them. At this point I wasn’t too plugged into the idea of what “Emo” was, bands like Glassjaw and 36 Crazyfists (deemed by some as Emo) were just an extension of my love for a band like Deftones. Over the years from this point I was tempted to buy Thursday at so many points. That moment finally came in 2008 when I was 25 years old. I was essentially in the mood for a band who would give me the same rush that Deftones do. It had been a while since Deftones had released new music and I was craving that collision of attack, emotion and swoon. So Thursday once again entered my mind and after doing my research I went into JB’s and brought the whole discography, I was hooked.
On the surface Thursday is indeed everything the media describes them to be. They have the post-hardcore feel with the emo delivery. It has throwbacks to punk but also has alternative rock dynamics. It has the capacity to be both aggressive and tender while also having a great pop sensibility. This is indeed the best and most scientific way to communicate what kind of band you’re investing in when you talk about the music of Thursday. For me however, I don’t like to simply restrict it to the above descriptions. I hear a whole lot more when I put on a Thursday record and through the years my relationship with the band has gone from casual to committed fan. Thursday have also rewarded my patience and belief in their sound by evolving with each album. This all came to a beautiful endpoint with their final record “No Devolucion” which really showcased how amazing the band was.
So how would I describe the music of Thursday?
I’d first and foremost describe it as an exercise in poetry and romance. This music is a love letter to the muse and instead of being delivered with a whisper it is done with an enormous dream like shout. It is indeed incredibly emotional music but I’m not comfortable with the idea of Emo. That is a fashion statement not a musical genre and Thursday are not for the fashion conscious, they are a band who have a healthy understanding of the history of music and the power it can wield. When it attacks the music provides the kind of escape that allows you to leap from your circumstances and to just fucking soar above it. That whole self-belief thing that is so vital and important to the hardcore genre. When the music is being tender and swoony you get the same kind of escape but you just float and swirl and curl into the arms of bliss. It allows you to remain suspended in the complicated mess that is heartbreak but instead of anxiety you have the space to mourn and reflect. This is not music that provides resolve but it allows you time to digest the mess and the opportunity to then escape. This very process of escape may help you sort it out or make you fall in love deeper with that person or thing you can’t have. Thursday has a whole bunch of music that I’d love to make any of my crushes sit down and listen too just so I can say “This is what you’re doing to me and my emotions.” There is also a lot of the crescendo dynamics and emotional landscaping that bands within the post-rock genre indulge in. This helps build and sway the mood giving you the listener ultimate access to the swoon of it all. Second to the post-rockisms are the nods to a lot of the sounds that has filled indie rock over the years. I’m talking about the fuzz and bliss of My Bloody Valentine, the interesting guitar interplay of Sonic Youth, the intense emotional poetry of Sunny Day Real Estate and the up and down weirdness of Slint. It doesn’t end there because there is of course a huge nod to the darker sounds of bands like The Cure that swirl and sift all through the history of Thursday. If you close your eyes and live in the world without titles and genre tags you can hear a band that is the natural extension and evolution of The Cure. We don’t live in that world, so that may not be fully understood. Then of course there is the obvious history of punk rock and hardcore that sits front and centre of the sound. This is the backbone of Thursday and it gives you the perfect solid frame to build on. Punk Rock and Hardcore as music genres are dynamic enough but when mixed with the above music histories you are going to get some incredibly interesting sounds.
So let me now take you through the history of the Discography to showcase my favourite songs from each album and paint to you the evolution of Thursday:
Song Chosen: Dying In New Brunswick
The song “Dying in New Brunswick” was written by the singer Geoff Rickly about his girlfriend who moved to New Brunswick and was raped while she was there. The lyrics are about how he hated the city for what happened and how he felt like he was dying whenever he was there.
Album: Full Collapse
Song Chosen: How Long is The Night? (with the original intro)
I love this song quite a bit, but I wanted you to hear the original version of it. The version on Full Collapse doesn’t have the musical intro. This version can be heard on their “Kill The House Lights” compilation.
Album: War All The Time
Song Chosen: Signals Over the Air
I love this song quite a bit, the perfect song to play to anyone you’re crushing on, great lyrics. This is a live version of the song.
Album: A City By the Light Divided
Song Chosen: Sugar In the Sacrament
This would have to be my favourite song by Thursday. It showcases everything that is amazing about the band. This also signalled the first time the band worked with Dave Friedman as a producer who did a lot of great work with The Flaming Lips and Sleater-Kinney. This relationship continued over the next two albums and he did wonders for organising their sound. I thought I’d post another live version because this song sounds amazing in this video. Another great song to make your brand new crush listen too in order for you to explain the emotional hell you’re going through.
Album: Common Existence
Song Chosen: As He Climbed The Dark Mountain
This song illustrates how the band managed to mix all of the beauty of their sound into one 3 minute and 2 second song. This song is such a great introduction to Thursday.
Album: No Devolucion
Song Chosen: No Answers
If you walk away with one album by Thursday I sure hope it is this one. This is the bands final album but it managed to capture so beautifully how dynamic they are as a group. If you are not into the attack side of things, this album is for you. It is all swoon and bliss, simply beautiful stuff. This song does the best job of selling the beauty of Thursday.
So there you have it, volume two. I hope you enjoyed reading it and I really hope that at least some of you may be inspired enough to check out the music of Thursday.
Stay tuned for volume three.
By Dan Newton xo