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A City By the Light Divided by Thursday

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Reviewed on 24th May 2006.


A City By the Light Divided

By Thursday

Thursday will forever be cursed with being tagged as the band that sprung the traps on the infamous genre of 'screamo'. Cult icons, revered scene leaders but never commercial darlings. Thursday laid the seeds and saw vastly less talented and respectable bands soar up behind in their jet stream and rack up huge sales and gain mounds and mounds of floppy fringed Myspace whackers to boot.

But the more savvy hardcore fan has always respected Thursday. Thursday are the elder statesmen and acclaimed proprietors of post-hardcore. Legions of hardcore fans (including myself) were turned onto the genre by the band's second (and arguably finest) album 'Full Collapse' at the turn of the millennium. Just as Refused's 'Shape Of Punk To Come' and At The Drive-In's 'Relationship Of Command' lay the foundations for what is now called punk, 'Full Collapse' may be the legacy of Thursday.

But while the aforementioned bands imploded upon their seminal release, Thursday have kept striving to perfect their sound. Last release 'War All The Time' ended up as being a creative and commercial mind block and has since been almost disowned by the band. (Geoff Rickley recently commented the new album is "the album we tried to make with 'War All The Time'") but even through that trauma, Thursday have always had the capacity to push on and fulfil their apparent destiny as hardcore household names. That leads us to May 2006 and 'A City By The Light Divided'. A diverse and complicated piece of work it is too. A shuddering, transfixing, dense journey through hardcore, post rock and punk that ultimately pulls together to create a superb finished product. More a piece of art than a record. 'A City By The Light Divided' is nearing the holy grail for what Thursday are continually striving for. But for some reason, you feel it just hasn't made it.

It could be the perfected to within an inch of its life production or the fact there are so many opposites pulling in different directions or it could be that the band are trying just a little too hard to be all things, to all men. Whatever the case 'A City By The Light Divided' mustn't be dismissed for not being the so called perfect album that was expected by some. As it still completely trounces the opposition and is a superb return to form following the oft-described ill fated 'War All The Time'.

Opener spliced together 'The Other Side Of The Crash/Over And Out' is as good as anything Thursday have ever put to record. Bizarrely similar to cult classic 'Understanding In A Car Crash' in that it's based around exactly the same subject matter but nevertheless, it bites of a band ready to prove the naysayers very much mistaken. This leads into the most poppiest but somewhat vacant Thursday song ever in 'Counting 5-4-3-2-1' which the band will know doubt be looking to rear a few new fans in with. The ferocious opening of 'At This Velocity' together with the powerful hooks of 'We Will Overcome' pound and pound to submission point before opening into an Explosions In The Sky-esque post-rock number. The interchanging between dark and light, fast and slow and the punishing to the beautiful being brought together within those 3 numbers.

The centrepiece however comes in the form of 'Running From The Rain'. Characterising all the parts, bringing them together and succeeding in proving the old adage that the result is often greater than the sum of the parts. And when the 'parts' are already superb, the sum must be unbelievable. The eventual closer 'Autumn Leaves Revisited' is the masterpiece though. It builds for what seems like an eternity, mixing Godspeed You! Black Emperor frettery techniques while maintaining the melody and aggravated vocals of Rickley before exploding in a seismic maelstrom of laden guitars and tribal drumming and another epic vocal performance from the veteran vocalist.

'A City By The Light Divided' is undoubtedly a triumph for Thursday. Credibility restored and  loaded with an album that could, if not should, boost their worldwide notoriety, Thursday should be happy with themselves. At the very least, this is one for the fans.



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