Thursday is an odd band.
They released their first record, Waiting, to complete apathy. Then, Full Collapse arrived, and suddenly Thursday found itself in the odd position of being everyone's favorite new band. Granted, there's many better, or more interesting bands out there; Thursday, starting with Waiting, never attempted to be the most challenging or innovative. They've always worked to fuse pop songwriting with a bit of a hardcore edge...yet somehow they were being likened to groups such as At The Drive-In and judged by those standards.
War All the Time, seems to be an attempt to reconcile the softness of Full Collapse with the impact and edge of Waiting. Successful? I would say, as far as that experiment goes, it was. It sounds like a perfect merge of the two.
However, this record also refuses to take risks. Full Collapse was a refinement of their sound, but this album just feels like a continuation. Thursday certainly are talented musicians, and they prove it by writing excellent pop songs that will stay in your head for days. The problem though, is you won't be sure if the song in your head is "Steps Ascending" or "Division St." "Signals Over the Air" seems to be a desperate attempt at crafting a hit single, with it's radio referential lyrics and generic hooks. It's definitely the worst song Thursday have ever recorded.
Of all the "nu-emo" bands, Thursday are definitely the best. They eschew the boring, contrived pop-punk dynamic. The lyrics avoid the annoying, nasal clone that their contemporaries embrace. The band itself has more to talk about than their broken hearts or evil girlfriends. However, the next step this band needs to take is to do something different, or they risk becoming completely generic.
If you enjoyed their past records(as I did), you'll enjoy this one as well; if you didn't care for Thursday to begin with, this isn't going to convince you to give them another chance.
Of all these "emo" bands around right now, Thursday is the one that continually disappoints me. I see in Thursday the potential to do something good, but the band keeps falling into the same pitfalls and trappings of a genre that's been exploited and dumbed-down for the masses one too many times. The ideas they have are continually squashed by a need to stop-start near constantly, and by a singer who slips from just-passing into intolerability more and more frequently. War All the Time is an edgier and more aggressive record than Full Collapse, but that's really not saying much. What it really comes down to is that I simply don't believe a word this guy is singing, and the lack of being able to connect with an audience in this genre is deadly for any band. If the entire point of the "emo" movement is to be emotionally revealing and vulnerable, it's a definite problem when one's vocal delivery is as fake and monotone as it is here. While not being as idiotic as also-rans Thrice or as downright insulting as From Autumn to Ashes, Thursday still suffers from the same problem of having every song sound exactly alike, aside from the ones which are a little worse than the others; nearly every song on the record features one guitar playing thick, chunky power chords, while the other noodles on the high-end, and by three songs in, the entire process has become pedestrian and cliched. Furthermore, the record is completely unengaging, as not one hook, after four listens, has jumped out and lodged itself in my brain. The only song that manages to stick out is the record's title track, which, with it's anthemic choruses and tense verses, sounds completely out of place here, as it's actually good and manages to pull itself out of the hole the band has dug for themselves by mixing things up with effective dramatic tempo changes and breaking the formula the band sticks to for the majority of the record, which makes it the more unfortunate that it's lodged between the two worst songs on the record. "This Song Brought to You By a Falling Bomb," only because it's a barely two-minute piano ballad that's so see-through, contrived, and half-written that it's only memorable as the album's obvious low point; "M Shepard" is your typical Thursday song until it delves into a completely ineffective and poorly placed ambient section about two minutes in, killing the momentum of the song. Granted, this record is at least better than most of the music polluting the airwaves right now, but I simply can't force myself to give it a 4 and push it into mediocrity, when it's simply a bad record and should be received as such. While not being quite the epic snore-fest Full Collapse was, and certainly not as downright terrible as their contemporaries, it's still boring, ingenuine, and transparent for the most part. Still, as with Thrice, expect a whole slew of kids who think Fugazi is some weird foreign food to love this with a passion; forgive them, they simply don't know better, or else they wouldn't even bother.
5.0 / 10
Reviewed by 2 writers.
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