Thursday - No Devolución (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


No Devolución (2011)


Ready to feel old? No Devolución is Thursday's sixth full-length. The New Brunswick, N.J. post-hardcore sextet has had remarkable staying power in their 14 years together, through a landmark album for the genre (2001's Full Collapse) and a stint on a major label that yielded critically acclaimed work, but surely not the volume for which the suits were looking. They returned to the indie world with 2009's Common Existence, a record that, along with 2006's A City by the Light Divided, begged the question of whether or not Thursday was going through the motions, having reached a sonic comfort zone and not wanting (or needing, really) to stray from it, especially with their legacy and fanbase largely intact. Fortunately, No Devolución is the antithesis of that perceived stagnation, a record that's ambitious and even fearless in its scope. Thursday has taken a sound that's familiar and arguably overwrought, and breathed new life into it.

Two things that are immediately apparent on No Devolución are the deliberate shift in guitar tones, as well as Geoff Rickly's more restrained vocal approach; on opener "Fast to the End", the guitars are distorted and distant, and not at all crunchy, while Rickly's voice protrays a sense of quiet, echoey desperation that's a far cry from the franticness for which he's generally known. This track, along with "No Answers" and "A Darker Forest", seems to highlight the bass and keyboards of Tim Payne and Andrew Everding, respectively, more than anything else, and their work here is extremely captivating. Also of note is the distortion applied to Everding's programming in the excellent "Magnets Caught in a Metal Heart", which seems to finally validate the presence of the instrument within Thursday's landscape.

"Past and Future Ruins" is the crown jewel of the album, the track that puts it all together, so to speak. Stark verses with little more than rolling drums and Rickly's subdued voice clash with heavy, dissonant guitars, distorted cries and indecipherable screams in the chorus, each part made more distinct by its counterpart. We expect certain groups to seamlessly meld abrasiveness and melody in this manner, but hearing it from Thursday six albums into their career, it's honestly a bit startling.

No Devolución doesn't let up in its final act, either; the way the rhythm section pulses and pounds in "A Gun in the First Act" around distant riffs and soaring vocals is impressive. The verses in "Turnpike Divides" are perhaps the most melodic moments on the album, augmented by the distortion and chaos that populates the song's chorus. And the album's near eight-minute closer "Stay True" possesses all the components of a great closing track: a slow, deliberate build that leads in a massive, climatic payoff, a formula not entirely original, but within the context of this album, it's the only way Thursday could've ended it.

If you've tuned out Thursday over the last five years or so, it's time to start paying attention to them. No Devolución is the band's best work since Full Collapse, and while time will tell if it ends up being a genre-shifting game-changer the way Full Collapse was a decade ago, it certainly has the chops to accomplish it.