February 5, 2009

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Thursday, Common Existence
Epitaph Records, Feb. 17

On the one hand, NJ band Thursday are rightly cited as one of the entities responsible for emo, and they’ve accepted the blame to some degree. On the other hand, though, taking into account emo’s basic definition as “emotional hardcore,” they have little in common with the flood of mediocre copycat one-song bands whose mission statement would read, in crayon, “WE LIKE HOOBASTANK AND PROPS TO MOM AND DAD FOR THE UPPER MIDDLE-CLASS UPBRINGING.” Despite there being a lot of blown-gasket sturm und drang here, Thursday’s approach is more traditionally hardcore and technically rigid, i.e. the songs aren’t about the Muffy who won’t return his texts, and they save the high-energy stuff for the last parts of the songs, which was the whole idea of genre in the first place. They may not have been part of the original emo wave, but here more than ever they sound like Offspring in full kickass mode: opener “Resuscitation of a Dead Man” closes with a part that’s over-the-top enough to accomplish that very thing, and you know what, same goes for “As He Climbed the Dark Mountain,” among others. “Friends in the Armed Forces” is especially oldschool hardcore, whether or not it nicks System of a Down in spots. A — Eric W. Saeger