As one of the most critically and publicly beloved bands of the early 00s emo movement, they could have kept cranking out the noise forever and been given a pass (see 2009s Common Existence, which was met with no praise or criticism). But they decided to work themselves, and No Devolución is the result.
No Devolución tells you a lot about itself simply from the title. Its en español, but its translation (No Returns) falls right in line with Thursdays grim, gritty lyrics. This album is Thursday trying to do exactly what they do theoretically, but in a different medium.
Its also got a double entendre going on, aping Devo a bit. But by appending the No, theyre out to prove that its not going soft. Theyve chosen to go where theyve gone, and thats what makes this disc as strong as it is.
Both those points come to fruition in the eight-minute (!) highlight track Stay True. Beginning as a forlorn solo guitar elegy, the song slowly builds to a full roar, with lead singer Geoff Rickly hollering out the title for all hes worth. But even that isnt the apex, as it keeps building. Its a pretty incredible rock track, and it proves that Thursday still has vital things to say musically.
No other song reaches the heights of Stay True, but no other one really tries to. If you nail the hardest move in your routine early on (Stay True is track two), youve pretty much got the confidence to pull off the rest or goodwill from the judges to gloss over minor errors.
The rest of the record shows a tempered Thursday: less aggression, more mood. Its unusual to hear that from the group (check all that Muse piano on Sparks Against the Sun), but its not bad, either. Past and Future Ruins is a great example, with a toy piano juxtaposed against distorted screaming and thrashy guitars. A Gun in the First Act excellently mixes an accordion and rapid-fire tom fills. Theres a sentence Ive never written before.
There are a few face-plants throughout (the underpowered Millimeter, the too-maudlin A Darker Forest), but Thursdays still learning how to work this type of moodiness throughout a long-player. No Devolución is not perfect, but its an impressive first stab at more than the thoughtful scream n pound for which theyre known. Stephen Carradini
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that the review copy was heard out of sequence, due to a computer error.
This was actually good for Thursday, as the correct order places highlight Stay True last. In listening to its intended state, I found myself losing interest in all of the back-end tracks that were suddenly front-end tracks. Without an explosion to kick off the set (and Fast to the End is nice, but not the blast they need), it drags by the middle. A Gun in the First Act is still in almost the same place, oddly, and it does serve as a pick-me-up toward the end. And Stay True stayed true.
So buy the album, re-order it with Turnpike Divides first, Stay True second and A Darker Forest last, and youll enjoy it a lot more.