A New Direction Divided

A City By the Light Divided (Island Records)

By Kory Wilcoxson

There's a plethora of fire imagery in the lyrics of Thursday's newest album, A City by the Light Divided. It's an appropriate metaphor that could describe the refining fire, which the band has been going through (emotional exhaustion and a near breakup in the past couple years), or it could be evidence of the band's struggle to not flame out after the burning success of their 2003 disc War All the Time.

City is a reinvention of sorts for Thursday. They made their name as an aggressive rock band driven by pounding guitars and Geoff Rickly's screaming lyrics. On City, Rickly relies more on his singing (a vocal coach is credited in the liner notes), with the band attempting to match this more progressive approach to rock.

The result is a mixed bag. Thursday rocks hardest when its music has a direction, as with the excellent "Counting 5-4-3-2-1" and the atmospheric "Sugar in the Sacrament." But when the band loses focus, the songs lose their appeal and we're left with meandering tunes like "Into the Blinding Light." For Thursday to complete this metamorphosis from screamo to rock, they'll need to stay focused on their musical goal and keep their feet to the fire. <