Geoff Rickly - Mixtape 1 (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Geoff Rickly

Mixtape 1 (2012)


Thursday's in the past. United Nations seems to be what Geoff Rickly's eyeing now, but then you wonder, because he's doing acoustic solo shows and touring while covering Thursday tracks. Is it a hiatus? Is the breakup definite? All that aside, Rickly decided to put out a solo effort that feels like a bunch of Thursday B-sides, but much more fine-tuned to his personal stories and experiences. He manages to go even further into his own realm of lyrical prose and wandering stories, and that's where his strength lies. Forget whether or not you like him as a vocalist, because the stories he tells continue to wrack nerves with the emotional pull and musical inertia that helped him craft Thursday as giants in their prime. This mixtape doesn't deviate as its a masterful layout of what makes Rickly stand out among lead vocalists and songwriters.

I'm pretty sure you'd cringe at the thought of him covering Usher's "Climax," but it's respectable, adding a grit that leaves you thinking 'Was he serious or just fucking around?' Luckily for me, I've loved him covering the Buzzcocks and Sigur Ros already so I don't take this too seriously. It's actually rehabilitation in a way, once I consider how far R&B has actually fallen in contemporary times with their falsettos and auto-tunes.

Moving on from that tirade, and I just needed to get that out first, he continues to transcend the ambiance and distortion of his stories with a secular outlook that you either hate or love. Not forgetting his vernacular that thumped through Waiting right up till No Devolucion, Rickly prolongs his stresses through life with "Going to Hell" and "Your Love is a Pawnshop," both of which resonate brilliantly. He's synonymous for etching distortion into beauty and disparity into depression, and sure, folks think he's gotten pretentious or lost his mojo when he picked up vocal classes, but fuck that, because this here's much better than his past few verses with Thursday.

He doesn't mask or overshadow his intentions, and that's typical Rickly. "My Favorite Blue Raincoat" exemplifies how much he doesn't sugarcoat things he feels, and I wouldn't dare assume what these songs mean as he usually has hidden meanings to them or his own take on things. That's the spin that makes him unique. You can argue if he's tone=deaf or not, but he's really improved leaps and bounds since War all the Time and even before that, he was one of the top lyricists around. "New Sympathies" adds layers of mystery amid his focused approach, and it's nice that he adds this shroud as opposed to some preachy solo effort at the forefront. There's a delicate allure to what he's done here.

It's hard to bash the committed sincerity and relenting passion here. You feel it insurmountably, even in a fucking trap like "Climax." I guess I could describe this in a million ways - subtle, assertive, complex, resounding, cryptic, resounding - but all that matters to me is how Rickly challenges himself as he swims in and out of genres. Here's to more United Nations and seeing what members of Pianos Become the Teeth add to the fold!