Thursday - Waiting (Expanded Edition) (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Waiting (Expanded Edition) (2015)

Collect Records

Everyone has that band in their life that they'll drop everything for. They actually have a couple. But there's one that stands out no matter how many groups of five or 10 you list. For me, it's Thursday. Geoff Rickly's been a major inspiration as someone whose words have a Stephen King-like effect on me. It made me think more, connect more and try to get in tune with the world. His lyrics offered a vivid imagery that kickstarted cogs in my imagination I didn't even know existed. In turn, this catalyzed my attempts to write - poetry, magazines, novels and pretty much, anything considered art. However, Waiting wasn't the first album I encountered from them. After taking in their later works, I fell in love but knew that something needed to inform this infatuation with Thursday. That happened in 2004 when I got acquainted with this album. It got me to really to look deeper into music, emotionally and personally and what sticks with me to this very day is that this particular musical novel talks more about the band personally as opposed to their later material that speak more of incidents.

Come 2012 when I jumped careers from a whopping 25k a month chemical engineer's position to a 2k a month freelance sports job - Thursday's discography was at the helm of it. Everything worked out well career-wise as I'm writing for ESPN now but I'll never forget my roots and how their records were there for me when things got bleak. Waiting, along with my other Thursday records, are always within hand's reach of my PC. Thursday records always touched on themes I ever really analyzed. A homosexual friend jumping to death at my university, with my hat on, due to bullying on a Jamaican hall on campus should have shocked me in my first year in university in 2008. It didn't. I ignored it. Until "Porcelain" re-entered my player. I'd gotten so caught up with Full Collapse and War All The Time, I left Waiting alone. But here I was. Listening to a band that to me, redefined the modern post-hardcore/emo movement, and instilled doctrines for The Wave to start pushing. This song talked about death and what struck home were the prominent backup vocals, so hoarse and out of tune, you wondered if they were tone-deaf. But 'When people die, they take a piece of us with them' was the lyric that sunk into me. I used it at an uncle's funeral in the eulogy last year and everyone told me after, it comforted them. That's the passion this album invokes.

Dynamic guitars bombard you at every turn on Waiting. "Ian Curtis" is a great example of this with Rickly paying homage to his Joy Division hero and the precept of 'Love will tear us apart'. Bill Henderson's guitars mix so well with Tim Keely's and this album reiterates a point that often stirs up a striking conversation with my fellow Thursday fanatics. Who's better? Bill or his replacement after this record in Steve Pedulla? Well, Pedulla and Keely show how amazing Thursday work it on clean, polished studio atmospheres but Henderson and Keely here show how well Thursday do on frilly, demo-esque, garage bases. The production's rough, raw yet still moving. On this track, the dynamics between the guitars move from shrill to buzzy and then to a wispy low-tempo before the catharsis of the screamo finale hits home. Rickly's vocals throughout are no doubt his worst but where his vocals fall short, again, he draws fans in with emotions and passion. "Intro" with its isolated and melodic picking then segues into the explosive "Streaks In The Sky" - which is the track that I most remember Tucker Rule's drums for. Cracking and downright demanding! The start-stop guitars jam in so much distortion, reverb and feedback, you're at a loss attempting to understand how they do so much in just one track. It ends with a stunning crescendo that allows Henderson and Keely to let loose. Even on "In Transmission", with Rickly's voice softer in the background, his faded essence is complemented so well by the riffs constructed. La Dispute fans could even argue that the spark-point for their spoken word may well have popped up here with "Where The Circle Ends". It's a bit odd and back then, a head-scratcher, but one for poets and abstracts. These all enhance the versatility of Waiting greatly and you can't ask for better storytelling than this.

"This Side Of Brightness" is another standout track and it's a major bonus to hear the demo-version for the first time. The latter's heavier and edgier as Rickly's vocals come off distant on them but this goes a long way to help you appreciate the studio-version even more - from the violins to the comforting tones on tap. The guitars dance in and around each other so well and get a bit more frenetic on the final product. It's a lovely message about accepting change, loss, love and friendship as everything moves onward in life. Couple this with another demo in "Dying In New Brunswick" and this descriptive energy makes me feel like I'm seeing Rickly's life unfold a la a movie. It's New Jersey in front my eyes and I'm a sucker for a letter about unrequited love. The guitars captivate as you'd expect and by this point, it's obvious the intertwining guitarists are probably the major selling point. Other than the poorly sung poems. This is further proven by the angsty ballad aura of "Mass As Shadows", the long version! It's slow and seductive and when the guitars start cutting, sit back and enjoy. It caps off a lyrically powerful journey from a distinguishable vocalist whose voice, no matter how it cracks, always resonates with me as he chats on climates and characters.

I can't tell you how many times I weave in and out my Thursday catalog. I've got over 20 tees also. Yeah, I'm obsessed and a big regret of mine is never having left the Caribbean to see them. That said, I understand why people outgrow them, as Blacklisted said it right on their album title When People Grow, People Go. It's the inevitable circle of life. However, having battled depression for over two years, music's my therapy and Thursday is a focal point of my life. I appreciate their shittier music, their experimentation, their musical exploration, their daring and bold vibe to chart new things and most of all, their penchant to make you feel a part of something. Whether you're reclusive, an introvert, a kid who gets picked on or a sportsman/engineer/aspiring writer, they offer a haven. Eyeball Records took a risk and after the Kill The House Lights DVD, I learnt that life is about being fearless and bold, within reason. Thursday's evolution, per record, helped build the foundation for me assimilating and comprehending this. Evolution revolves around origin to me and while Waiting wasn't the first Thursday record I came across, it definitely remains the gate for something that set me on a path that's misunderstood but one I wouldn't change for the world. When the dust clears, no matter what Rickly does solo, United Nations or with No Devotion (ex-Lost Prophets) or even Rule (with The Wanted, Yellowcard, Get Involved!); Waiting will always be the starting point for a movement and revolution in my life. It's quite a ride to take in the more vulnerable and exposed tracks in the expanded edition, and one heck of a nostalgic trip!