For Fans Of
Emotional. Feelings. Hard work. Honesty. Passion. Raw. Human.
These are all pretentious and over-used descriptions that many use to sum up Thursday’s sound, but they are also the most appropriate words to use when talking about the music of these New Jersey legends. After all, this is a band that only just pre-dates Taking Back Sunday, MCR, The Used, Fall Out Boy, and yet not only influenced them and many other young bands at the time, but also became a hallmark group of the post-hardcore/emo/alternative scene. And unsurprisingly, they saw massive success because of it. But for those of you playing at home, let’s give you a hint as to what got Thursday to that revered spot in the first place, so lean in close. Okay, you ready?
It was not ‘Waiting’.
No, it was not their 1999 debut record on Eyeball. It was in fact the bigger, better and more ambitious follow up, ‘Full Collapse’, their first release through Victory Records, that made the band what they were. That record is one of their highest rated albums and their most commercially successful, yet it’s still considered an absolute classic for the genre by fans, peers and critics alike. If you ever watch their Kill The House Lights documentary (which you totally fucking should if you haven’t already), then you’ll see the footage of that album tour and you’ll see venue after venue packed full for this band. A band that was just some average dudes with an out of tune singer from New Jersey. That was for the glorious ‘Full Collapse’, not for the average ‘Waiting’.
The reason this album is getting a remastered re-issue is because it’s the 15th anniversary of it’s release, and because physical copies of the album have been unavailable for about three or so years since Eyeball went under (yet this album came out in 1999, and it’s 2015, and 16th anniversary doesn’t sound as cool). Now, as a remaster this version is obviously louder in terms of levels, and it definitely has had more polish applied to the sonics then the original, and for some, that’s all they will have wanted from this release. However, it could be argued that some of that extra polish seems to override the initial feel of the record, and thus makes everything feel a little hollow. It’s subtle, but when you’re quite familiar with this record, it can become quite obvious.
But let’s not gun this poor bastard down too early. It’s still a good record, a good first record to have for any band, and it’s one that was focused on more personal, emotional subject matter, as opposed to the urgency, tragedies and political dramatics of later albums. Plus, it produced the beautifully flawed ‘This Side Of Brightness’, the always heart-aching ‘Dying In New Brunswick’, and the Joy Division inspired depression fest, ‘Ian Curtis’. Furthermore, Rickly’s vocals are still out of tune, yet that creates a very real and lively sound. It also shows what they would become down the track, but it’s over-shadowed by said track that paved its way through far better albums, all of which showed more ambition and versatility.
Apart from a remastered record, the bonus seven-inch comes with two demos of ‘This Side Of Brightness’ (which is very rough and doesn’t include the violins of the original, goddamnit) and ‘Dying In New Brunswick’, as well as a very rare track, ‘Mass As Shadows’, which is easily one of the best finds in the band’s back catalogue. So, for all the collectors out there, this is something that you may really want to look into, whether you loved this record or not.
At the end of the day, newcomers can find out what the fuss is about and old fans can reminisce about the early years of this band’s career. Yet, it’s not ‘Full Collapse’, nor is it ‘War All The Time’. Shit, it’s not even ‘Common Existence’. Furthermore, it’s doubtful that the band will reunite for a tour or two following this release, so this just teases fans with what will most likely never be. How about in two years time you release a remastered, re-issued version of ‘Full Collapse’, and then we’ll talk, okay?
2. This Side of Brightness
3. Ian Curtis
5. Streaks in the Sky
6. In Transmission
7. Dying in New Brunswick
8. The Dotted Line
9. Where The Circle Ends
1. This Side Of Brightness (Demo)
2. Dying In New Brunswick (Demo)
3. Mass of Shadows (previously unreleased)