Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Thursday: War All the Time [2003] — Album Review

Geoff Rickly: Lead Vocals
Tom Keeley: Guitar, Vocals
Steve Pedulla: Guitar, Vocals
Tim Payne: Bass
Tucker Rule: Drums
Andrew Everding: Keyboards
Produced by Sal Villanueva

1. For the Workforce, Drowning – 3:16
2. Between Rupture and Rapture – 3:03
3. Division St. – 4:14
4. Signals Over the Air – 4:10
5. Marches and Maneuvers – 4:27
6. Asleep in the Chapel – 3:46
7. This Song Brought to You by a Falling Bomb – 2:16
8. Steps Ascending – 4:26
9. War All the Time – 4:33
10. M. Shepard – 3:36
11. Tomorrow I'll Be You – 4:07
Total Runtime: 42:00

War All the Time is the third album by Thursday, and their major label debut with Island Records. War All the Time is a bit different from Full Collapse in that there's not as much screaming and the guitars are lighter.
"For the Workforce, Drowning" is a great album opener. Thursday has always been great with openers and closers. The opening guitar gives us a bit of a taste of what we're in for on War All the Time and what's changed since Full Collapse. "Between Rupture and Rapture" is a decent track. "Division St." brings some heavy guitars to the table, and the point in the song where everything just stops and we then get Rickly's singing getting louder and louder is just great.
"Signals Over the Air" is hands down Thursday's best song, and one of the best songs ever recorded. The guitar is masterfully crafted and the Rule's drum work sounds great. Rickly's lyrics are perfect and his voice is at peak performance. It's all about not fearing your sexuality, and it really makes its point, since it's such an amazing song. We follow the masterpiece "Signals" with "Marches and Maneuvers", another solid track, which is about abortion. Next is "Asleep in the Chapel", which is great, again, Rickly's voice and lyrics are awesome, and that spacey guitar just sounds amazing.
"This Song Brought to You by a Falling Bomb" is a slow track, with just Rickly singing and Everding on piano. The piano sounds good enough, and there's nothing wrong with Rickly's voice, but this is a pretty boring song. And that's the worst thing you can have on your album—a boring song. It just sucks the life out of it. Luckily, we get right back on track with "Steps Ascending", a song about the death of one of Rickly's friends and him wishing he hadn't fought with them and wishing they could have made up before he died. It's a nice tune, and again the guitar work is excellent.
Now we arrive at our title track, "War All the Time". Ehhhhh... it's good. I don't really have much to say about it. It's really nothing special, it's not nearly as good as "Signals Over the Air", but it's certainly not a bad song. "M. Shepard" is about the murder of Matthew Shepard by two men who assaulted him because he was gay. It's some heavy subject matter, but it's handled well, just like Rickly always does. The fakeout ending is really interesting, with the keys after it really makes me thing of the butterfly metaphor at the beginning of the song.
Our closer is "Tomorrow I'll Be You", which is another great closer. The guitars sound really cool and the lyrics are great.
Overall, War All the Time is a freaking awesome album, and my favorite Thursday album. It's full of songs written about everyday issues using war as an analogy, and it's pulled off with expert skill.

For the Workforce, Drowning: 9/10
Between Rupture and Rapture: 8/10
Division St.: 8/10
Signals Over the Air: 10/10
Marches and Maneuvers: 7/10
Asleep in the Chapel: 8/10
This Song Brought to You by a Falling Bomb: 6/10
Steps Ascending: 8/10
War All the Time: 7/10
M. Shepard: 8/10
Tomorrow I'll Be You: 9/10

Subtotal: 88/110
Bonus Points:
Guitar Intricacy: +2
Killer Choruses: +2
Total: 92/110
Score: 8.4 Excellent

Last Review: Lift a Sail by Yellowcard
Next Review: Soundtrack for a Generation by Student Rick
Next Thursday Review: Signals Over the Air [Single]

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