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Thursday - Common Existence (Cover Artwork)

Thursday

Thursday: Common ExistenceCommon Existence (2009)
Epitaph

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

OK, hands in the air: Who thought Thursday was going to bounce back from the major label death machine this well? More importantly, who thought that Epitaph Records was ever going to sign a good act again? Ever since the label tried "expanding" a few years back, their roster has been cluttered by sh.
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OK, hands in the air: Who thought Thursday was going to bounce back from the major label death machine this well? More importantly, who thought that Epitaph Records was ever going to sign a good act again? Ever since the label tried "expanding" a few years back, their roster has been cluttered by shitty acts from all walks of life: rap, metal and whatever the frick Panic at the Disco clones like the Higher count as, have been diluting a once vital punk organization. Thursday's true return to indie-dom, Common Existence is a good fit for Epitaph. Both sides prove they still know what good post-hardcore music sounds like.

But enough expounding on Epitaph's poor life decisions. Common Existence washes the bad taste of Sage Francis and Escape the Fate right out. The record is somehow forward-thinking, further pushing the more atmospheric approach glimpsed at on the band's split with Envy last year, yet speckled with retro stylings of previous albums. The leading track (and single) "Resuscitation of a Dead Man" is arguably the closest thing the band has done to revisiting their old (pardon the term) screamo sound. There are gang vox and harsh riffs and even some full-on screaming from Rise Against's Tim McIlrath. In truth, it's a lot more fluid than Full Collapse ever was -- flush with needling guitars and floating keyboard lines -- but that chorus is pure 2001.

Hopefully, all those wieners who thought Thursday peaked early (you fools!) will be stroked enough by McIlrath, because Common Existence runs the heck away from that sound for a little while. "Last Call" is a lumbering behemoth of song that has more in common with Ride and Deftones than it does Taking Back Sunday or Hawthorne Heights. The slightly re-recorded "As He Climbed the Dark Mountain" gets recycled from the Envy split, which is only half-disappointing since it's still a killer tune. "Friends in the Armed Forces" revisits some of War All the Time's ethereal/heavy attitude. Frontman Geoff Rickley gets as explicit as he can with lines like "I'm sick of tying yellow ribbons / Praying not to see / Another folded flag to a mourning mother / He was an army of one but they'll find another." We've had plenty of anti-war and pro-soldier anthems in the last six years; this is one of the better songs to blend the two.

The record's middle drops hardcore for an almost shoegazey effect. "Beyond the Visible Spectrum" starts out rocking, but fades into haze. "Time's Arrow" cuts through some of the fuzz to offer an acoustic contemplation on abuse in reverse, with some trippy backwards audio to boot. "Unintended Long Term Effects" goes back to rocking balls. Partnered with the more ethereal "Love Has Led Us Astray" (the only song here that feels undercooked) and "You Were the Cancer" later on, it gives the record a pleasing ebb and flow. "Circuits of Fever" opens with eerie feedback, throws in some pounding drums, and then takes its time finding its groove. It starts off like a standard rocker before bassist Tim Payne leads it into a second life as a triumphant toe-tapper.

So, what is Common Existence? Perhaps I can define it by what it isn't. It doesn't constantly pummel, which would have been great but grating. Common Existence tries to explore as many vibes as possible for a broader picture. It's a pretty expansive album. It's neither Thursday's darkest (that would be War All the Time) nor their most anthemic (A City by the Light Divided, son!). It's a bit more distorted than that, and like the black and white photos included, it can get pretty haunting. Rickly is a little more buried in effects, with the reverb pushed up. The guitar parts are less distinct, blurring together into a beautiful mess. And that's kind of like life, our common existence, in general.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundNOFX - The DeclineThursday - A City by the Light DividedRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComePropagandhi - Supporting CasteAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseAlkaline Trio - GoddamnitThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimBrand New - DaisyBrand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
purlieu (April 24, 2009)

Ah, I really like the way the album's produced and engineered - but I've liked most of Fridmann's production jobs. The chunky, bass and distorted drums thing is very evident on his work with the Flaming Lips (particularly the 90s stuff) so I was happy to hear it on here. Suppose it is an acquired taste, though. The only thing I don't like is the way the guitars do tend to veer towards the generic post-rock sound a bit too often.
Song for song it's very strong too, I think - a couple of weak moments (We Will Overcome doesn't do anything for me) but largely brilliant tunes here. Yeah.

Keithy_19 (March 11, 2009)

It's not perfect, but it's a real good record.

strungout22 (March 1, 2009)

OK, not great. I dont want to be the one to keep on comparing to full collapse, but come on. Every track was great on Full Collapse and im trying to like this but it aint happening.

Archangel (February 27, 2009)

I keep trying to listen to this because I really want to like it.

But I'm disappointed. It's weird to see people calling this the band's best. I hate what Geoff's voice sounds like on the record.

IReviewMusic (February 26, 2009)

Score is for record (which sucks, dozens of bands have done this record better than Thursday just did) and for the reviewer who bought into their silly narrative of hype.

If this were a review of how Epitaph had spun this record in the promo phase, I'd have given it a 9, but it wasn't.

cheesetits (February 26, 2009)

I think it's mostly his flesh colored facial hair and eyebrows that creeps me out.

GlassPipeMurder (February 26, 2009)

aww come on, you can not tell me this isn't the shit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxUQ07NXB4c&feature=relat ed

cheesetits (February 26, 2009)

Honestly, I think Brother Ali is awful.

GlassPipeMurder (February 26, 2009)

sage francis is bad. and not even because he's white, he's just bad.

listen to Brother Ali if you wanna hear a really talented white guy do hip-hop.

inagreendase (February 26, 2009)

Just name drop bands that are similar!

He kinda did, though.

usversusthem (February 26, 2009)

Score is for talking shit about Sage and 'Love Has Led Us Astray,' which is the best song on the album.

SydBarrett420 (February 26, 2009)

come on, 4 stars? seriously?

Go listen to "Understanding in a Car Crash" and then try again.

This album is generic garbage with nothing that stands oit.

Ravnos (February 26, 2009)

I think it's funny how many people get nostalgic for Epitaph's mid-90's heyday and trash what the label is now. I love a lot of those Epi-Fat skatepunk bands, too, but people used to talk a lot of shit about how boring and derivative all of those bands were back then. Epitaph hasn't changed, the flavour of the month did.

No comment about this album, I never got into these guys before so I'll probably pass on this now.

RoyalWithCheese (February 26, 2009)

I've always been a Thursday fan but this one doesnt seem to sound as good for me...Maybe I'll give it another try

SilentStorms (February 26, 2009)

Alright, I'm just sick of not knowing what a band sounds like. Just name drop bands that are similar! It's not hard and it makes it very easy for us to decipher what kind of sound you're describing.

Score is for my comment being registered to every review from every writer from here on out.

soundforlanguage (February 26, 2009)

I remember everyone jizzing their jeans when this band "hit big"..

they fucking sucked then, they suck now.

end o' story.

ChadReligion (February 26, 2009)

I've seen Sage live.. he was good and really gets you pumped, but I think there is way better hip hop out there at the moment, and none of it is on Epitaph.
I've seen Thursday live, and I didn't care for them, nor their records, plus, some of my really good friends really like these guys which has made it worse.

14theroad (February 26, 2009)

Is this better than Full Collapse? I'm not reading all this garbage.

genebuonaccorsi (February 25, 2009)

don't trash rap as a genre, trash the artists that make mindless, for-money, music.
theres nothing wrong with sage francis

GlassPipeMurder (February 25, 2009)

Epitaph did sign some good hip-hop acts, but the rest has not been good until now. Score is for Thursday, and Epitaph releasing them.

drugmoney (February 25, 2009)

was really looking forward to this, but i'll have to say i was disappointed. dont really care for it all, hasnt had any play since i got it from a friend, weeks ago. fuck it i'll give it more time, but first reaction wasnt too promising

bwisott (February 25, 2009)

Dude i fucking love Sage Francis

KurtTGS (February 25, 2009)

This review has convinced me to check this out.

Piata (February 25, 2009)

Definitely wasn't expecting this. A very solid album, likely Thursday's best and probably my favourite album this year (so far). Especially the closer, You Were the Cancer. Gonna be listening to that one for a very long time.

salsashark (February 25, 2009)

Um, I meant "Thursday fan."

salsashark (February 25, 2009)

I adore this album and have never been much of a Thursday band before. "Friends in the Armed Forces" is one of my favorite songs they have ever done, if not the absolute favorite.

10-4Eleanor (February 25, 2009)

Solid Record. Score is for your dig on Sage Francis.

wearestillalive (February 25, 2009)

No War All The Time, but still very good.

hellxblazer (February 25, 2009)

Very, very good record. I was pleasantly surprised, I thought they had lost it after War All The Time.

DrGunn (February 25, 2009)

you wanna live like common peopleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

thus_spoke_sean (February 25, 2009)

havent heard this yet but very excited for it, especially with all the positive remarks it's gathering

DrewXFishy (February 25, 2009)

rekkid rips

fallingupwards84 (February 25, 2009)

this band is still making music?

Ever since the label tried “expanding” a few years back, their roster has been cluttered by shitty acts from all walks of life: rap, metal and whatever the frick Panic at the Disco clones like the Higher count as, have been diluting a once vital punk organization.

yes, because washed up, pseudo-emo acts like Thursday are such a huge improvement.

bikeage (February 25, 2009)

are you fucking kidding me, this band sucks just as much as all their other terrible signings

fuck

mattramone (February 25, 2009)

"I stopped reading when you put Sage Francis and Escape The Fate in the same sentence.

Sage Francis >>>>>>>> Thursday"

Score is for this comment.

Dante3000 (February 25, 2009)

I learned I have no idea what makes a good or bad Thursday song after "War all the time".
-Dante

KorbenDallas (February 25, 2009)

I really liked this album, and for me "Unintended Long Term Effects" is the real standout track.

You mention that the album doesn't constantly pummel because it would be grating, but I disagree. I don't particularly enjoy the slower songs (especially since Time's Arrow has been out in a couple different versions for a while), but I guess thats what the United Nations album was for.

The whole album had a great sense of urgency to it, and there's not a lot of albums lately that invoke that emotion as well as this.

FaceOnTheBarroomFloor (February 25, 2009)

Yeah, great review, but it was a little silly grouping Sage Francis and Escape the Fate together.

branden (February 25, 2009)

don't care.

overdefined (February 25, 2009)

"I stopped reading when you put Sage Francis and Escape The Fate in the same sentence.

Sage Francis >>>>>>>> Thursday

Score is for the reviewer."

If you say "I stopped reading" anywhere in your comment on the review, your comment doesn't count.

LinoleumMagazine (February 25, 2009)

I stopped reading when you put Sage Francis and Escape The Fate in the same sentence.

Sage Francis >>>>>>>> Thursday

Score is for the reviewer.

dbug (February 25, 2009)

Awesome album! I just saw them last thursday actually and I loved watching them rock "friends in the armed forces". Too bad the crowd was full of a bunch of pussy emo kids that don't enjoy anything. "...Armed forces" is an instant favorite of mine that song rocks hard!

overdefined (February 25, 2009)

This was not quite the return to form I had hoped for from the very promising Envy split. Even the song that's on both doesn't sound as good on the new one.

insinceredave (February 25, 2009)

The best record they've done, without a doubt. Like it was said earlier, there isn't a song that i skip when i listen to it, although I do seem to like to listen to it on random.

You were the Cancer is going to be hard to top as song of the year for me!

oldpunkerforever (February 25, 2009)

yes, the year is young, but this is the biggest suprise of the year so far, dam this is good-oldpunker-

tenwestchaser (February 25, 2009)

"their roster has been cluttered by shitty acts from all walks of life: rap"

Saying Amotsphere sucks? Well, then, you suck...

mikexdude (February 25, 2009)

Have not heard this yet, but the review really makes me want to. Score is for the review.

How annoying is the spelling "Geoff." G-off.

colin (February 25, 2009)

6 to the review, 8 to the record. i like the lengths the band reached at for ACBTLD better. while this is better than city they seemed to settle down a bit. not that it's a bad thing because this record is phenomenal.

"you were the cancer" is the best song they've released since "paris in flames." but considering the strength of "last call" and "friends in the armed forces," this album is a force to be reckoned with.

teaessare (February 25, 2009)

Just got it, listening to it now. And i must say I like what I'm hearing.

R3vengeTherapy (February 25, 2009)

Halfway through my first listen and I think this is the best record Thursday has recorded. I'm impressed.

And I still like Full Collapse and War All the Time.

blanktapesemptybottles (February 25, 2009)

you do not talk shit about Sage, I will publicly box you

cheesetits (February 25, 2009)

Really, hating on Sage Francis?

inagreendase (February 25, 2009)

Probably their worst since Waiting but not a bad record by any means. I think the middle just drags a bit and the production isn't as dynamic as on ACBTLD. Which is weird considering it's still Fridmann.

"Love Has Led Us Astray" is a beautifully sad song. It's like the only time they've come close to those Cure comparisons.

R3vengeTherapy (February 25, 2009)

After this review, my interest has definitely moved in the direction of "I need to listen to this." I never in a million years thought I'd hear someone drop Ride into a description of a Thursday record.

Tangy (February 24, 2009)

Yeah! fuck rap! other types of music suck!!

justahippie (February 24, 2009)

This is a good record and a good review. They didn't publish mine. Sad hippie. Still, good review though. And freaking good album.

The new Appleseed Cast record, Sagarmatha, blows this and every release so far this year out of the water though. WOWWIE WOWWIE WOW what a record.

wyzo (February 24, 2009)

Never thought the band was the second coming, and the early stuff has slowly cooked for me so It really only started to work for me a year ago.

The 3rd record, the one that gave them an mtv single, I liked purely for it's poppy, Geoff is a performing diva goodness. It's an admitted pleasure, goes quick though me, and I put it away until next time I want to breeze through it. Their b-sides have always been great too, though kudos for them for not having a new years related song on this record.

The last record they did just did nothing for me. It's not bad, I recognize it's more than fluff, very bad career choice for them on a major, so I admired the integrity even though the songs didn't click with me. AT ALL. A good effort, not phoned in, but I couldn't get into it.

In many ways this record is the bizarro alternate universe flip of that record. It's a record that is dense, trying to do more, take a few risks, not just fluff very much like the last one, but for a myriad of reasons subtle and nerdy I won't go into, this works for me.

Completely. I really think this is my favorite one so far. Even on War all the time there was a track or two I'd skip on repeat, but I really can't knock this one, an easy record to listen to front to back.

so while Geoff still comes off with marvel comics as if he's the most pretentious man in the world, (can any band act like their audience isn't their little brother or they have a communicative capacity below Patrick Star from Bikini Bottom? besides propagandhi....) I call this the surprise of 2009. I'm pushing this record. So congrats to Thursday you sons of bitches.

w

CCSummers (February 24, 2009)

I have so many problems with this review.
Regardless, I like this album a fair deal. Prefer United Nations though.

brown (February 24, 2009)

I've only had the album for a few days, but oh boy it is a rocker. Tunes like "Friends in the Armed Forces" and "Circuits of Fever" are face fuckers. While some of the other tracks on here are so stark and haunting that they give me chills listening to it. The only one that I have qualms with is the opening track, and I think if theyth were going to revisit a previous track, I would have rather seen an alternate version of, or a repeat appearance of "voices on a string" or "ladies and gentlemen: my brother; the failure" then "as he climbed the dark mountain" but,... god this is one of the greatest things that will be released this year.

scorpiondeathlock (February 24, 2009)

this is a good band, i just cant get into this kind of music anymore.

HeresLookinAtYou (February 24, 2009)

Very good.

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