Saturday, May 7, 2016

Thursday: No Devolución [2011] — Album Review

Geoff Rickly: Vocals
Steve Pedulla: Guitar
Tom Keeley: Guitar
Andrew Everding: Keyboards
Tim Payne: Bass
Tucker Rule: Drums
Produced by Dave Fridmann

1. Fast to the End – 3:21
2. No Answers – 4:53
3. A Darker Forest – 3:40
4. Sparks Against the Sun – 4:47
5. Open Quotes – 2:55
6. Past and Future Ruins – 4:15
7. Magnets Caught in a Metal Heart – 3:42
8. Empty Glass – 4:59
9. A Gun in the First Act – 5:02
10. Millimeter – 2:48
11. Turnpike Divides – 4:54
12. Stay True – 7:53
Total Runtime: 53:09

No Devolución is quite a departure from Thursday's previous two albums, 2009's Common Existence and 2006's A City by the Light Divided. In fact it's a different road then they normally drive on. No Devolución is a much more atmospheric experience than Thursday's pulled off before—most tracks find Rickly's voice drenched with reverb, and most of the other instruments have serious echo to them as well.

No Devolución is Thursday's final album, and as of this review, the members of the now-disbanded sextet has no plans to ever record another album, but they will probably still play concerts together. Honestly I think that's one of the worst ways they could go out—they'll still be here but nothing will ever be done.
No Devolución begins with "Fast to the End", the fourth song Rickly has written about crashing vehicles;"Understanding", "The Other Side of the Crash", "At This Velocity", and now we can add "Fast to the End" to the list of "really good songs written about a vehicle accident". Up next is "No Answers", which lets you know you aren't gonna be hearing anything like "Signals Over the Air" on this record. It's a mellow, calm tune. "A Darker Forest" has some of the most reverb-drenched vocals on the album. "Sparks Against the Sun" is a lighter tune than "Darker Forest", with an upbeat drum line and guitar riffs. "Open Quotes" is another solid track.
"Past and Future Ruins", one of the singles, starts about a minute into the song (like "Get it Faster" by Jimmy Eat World), but otherwise nothing to complain about. "Magnets Caught in a Metal Heart", is a really cool song. Rickly's lyricism is great and his vocals sound quite soothing, and the guitars are really nice. But then we hit a speed bump: "Empty Glass". Snnnoooorrre. Definitely the low point of the album—Rickly's usually great lyrics are just boring and average. The instrumentation is… well, barely there. This could have been a kick-ass song; throw in some usual Thursday instrumentation or some of the new flavor of No Devolución. Just put something in there.
When you're listening to No Devolución and "Empty Glass" finishes and the flugelhorn (played by Everding's wife, Emily) comes in, starting "A Gun in the First Act", immediately you're like "oh finally that song is over". I'm sorry, I don't mean to keep ragging on "Empty Glass", but the song is just so boring. Besides that, "A Gun in the First Act" continues with the great post-hardcore instrumentalism and Rickly's always awesome (besides "Empty Glass") lyricism.
"Millimeter", the shortest track on the album, is probably the most reminiscent of pre-No Devolución Thursday. It's a really cool sounding track that'll probably stick with you after you're through listening to No Devolución. "Turnpike Divides" is yet another really solid effort, and wow, that's just a cool name for a song.
"Stay True", our closer, is a nearly 8-minute experience. It is a recorded warm-up session, which they had done each time they went into the studio, with some versions reaching over 20 minutes long. Some of Rickly's vocals were recorded in the forest outside the studio.
For a swan song, No Devolución may disappoint someone looking for more Common Existence, but the new sound won't disappoint anyone who likes everything Thursday's done.

Fast to the End: 8/10
No Answers: 7/10
A Darker Forest: 7/10
Sparks Against the Sun: 8/10
Open Quotes: 9/10
Past and Future Ruins: 6/10
Magnets Caught in a Metal Heart: 9/10
Empty Glass: 1/10
A Gun in the First Act: 9/10
Millimeter: 10/10
Turnpike Divides: 10/10
Stay True: 8/10

Subtotal: 92/120
Bonus Points:
A+ Guitar Work: +2
New Style Pulled Off Well: +4
Total: 98/120
Score: 8.2 Excellent

Genres: Post-hardcore, Alternative, Indie

Last Week's Review: Under the Boards by Saves the Day
Tomorrow's Review: I'll See You When I See You by Light Years
Next Thursday Review: A City by the Light Divided

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