The critical and fan reception to Thursday’s 2006 release, A City By The Light Divided, were, at best, lukewarm. It caused a divide among fans; either you loved it or you hated it. There was no middle ground. City took on a more experimental route with Thursday’s signature sound still woven in. Some complain about the tone of the album, most complained about the production of Dave Fridmann (I personally love it). So when the Jersey sextet announced that Fridmann would be producing the band’s Epitaph debut, Common Existence, fans were naturally wary.
The fears of some will be squashed immediately when first single “Resuscitation of a Dead Man” blasts out of the barrel. The openers on each Thursday album have always been a kick in the balls, and this track is no different. “Resuscitation” sets the pace of Common Existence: urgent and in your face. “Last Call” gradually rises into the beautiful crashing of cymbals and chords. The track is calm and chaotic at once, leaving you dizzy. And “Friends In The Armed Forces” is an absolute doozy. The guitar chords rip as vocalist Geoff Rickly yelps frantically.
“Beyond The Visible Spectrum” begins with a methodical drum roll and sampled strings that are quickly evaporated by the frenzy of chords from guitarists Tom Keeley and Steve Pedulla. The song is equally gentle and forceful, incorporating different sensations throughout. “Time’s Arrow” is a slow acoustic track that will swoon through your earphones.
“Unintended Long Term Effects” is like one of those 5-hour energy drinks. The urgency in Rickly’s voice, along with some well-placed screams, will make this an immediate fan favorite. The fluidity of “Circuits Of Fever” and “Subway Funeral” is pristine and set the stage for the final two tracks of Common Existence. “Love Has Led Us Astray” is a delicate track that pulsates through your veins. The subtleties in this track are what make it standout.
The final track, “You Were The Cancer,” reminds me of why I fell in love with Thursday so many years ago. The intro of the track is like a warning signal, informing you of oncoming chaos. This track bleeds emotion. The screams are perfect, the bridge is chilling, and the outro is remarkable. This is easily one of the ten best Thursday songs ever, and when the dust settles, you, the listener, will sit in silence briefly, trying to take in what just hit you.
Over the course of the last few years, Thursday has seemed to be the forgotten band, one we take for granted. But with Common Existence, Thursday will be knocking down doors throughout 2009. It has been a long time since Thursday has been this good musically and lyrically. This album will win back all of those who gave up on Thursday after City was released. On “Resuscitation of a Dead Man,” Rickly sings, “Can you feel a pulse?/It’s been stopped for so long./Let’s restart it!” I couldn’t sum up the album and its impact any better.