Thursday Every Day of The Week
Thursday doesn’t have the best vocals, the best hooks, or the best albums. But they do have some of the rawest, most emotive songs of any band ever. What they lack in polish, they make up in passion and drive. That said, I’m a bit biased–this band was the first band I was truly a fan of. In high school, I would rush to a record store to pick up their latest release then play it on repeat until the CD (yes, CD) was too scratched to play. The way the band could combine so many layers and tones was staggering to my young brain.
So when I saw that Thursday’s de facto “greatest hits” album, Kill The House Lights, was being released on vinyl, I was ecstatic. The album includes songs from all the band’s previous releases and some new material (circa 2007) and a DVD of live performances, all of which, for a Thursday fan, is nothing short of must-have-material.
The album starts with the depth charge of a song, “Ladies and Gentlemen: My Brother, The Failure.” The track shows Thursday at their heaviest–jerking through dissonant riffs and Geoff Rickly’s fiercest vocals. With a video that shows classic Thursday threads (flashing lights (Rickly is epileptic), literary allusions (Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” Burroughs’ Naked Lunch), the band’s high energy performances), “Ladies and Gentlemen: My Brother, The Failure” is a staple to the band’s discography.
Thursday was a force in the early to mid-2000s. Whether it was in the music scene or the activist scene, the band was always conscientious about supporting any cause that helped people and animals. For a band so intense (and one mired in the current trends–bands constantly switching line-ups, disbanding, etc.), it is amazing Thursday has had relatively the same line-up (adding a keyboardist around 2006) since their inception.
And this familiarity with each other could be heard not only in their recording but in their chemistry on stage. It takes a lot of trust to be able to have such a fracas on stage without devolving completely into noise. Its true, Thursday’s shows were some of the most high energy, relentless shows I’ve seen, but it’s also true the band never forgot the music. This is evident in the live track they chose to include in the album–”Signals Over The Air.”
Am I too much of a fan to see the flaws in this record? Probably. Should you still check out this record. Absolutely. Whether you grew up with the band, knew of them, or this is your first listen, Kill The House Lights is the perfect introduction to a band that defined a musical genre in the early aughts. One more thing, Thursday’s music and politics are inseparable, and for a year as politically fraught as this one, I can think of no better reissue than one of the most literate protest bands of our generation.