| This album came out today. And I had some strange experiences with it that I wanted to share in this review.
After hearing the first few tracks, all I could think was, “This feels like War All the Time B-sides.” It even looked like it on the CD cover. The single “Counting 5-4-3-2-1” didn’t have the same grasping power as “Signals Over the Air” or “Between Rapture and Rupture” did.
Then, all of a sudden, the album made sense to me in the middle of track five “We Will Overcome.” The choir of angels vocalizing in the chorus must have snapped me to this realization:
War All the Time was a vicarious experience. It was dreaming of the war, it was watching on the evening news, reading it in the papers, listening to it on the car radio (listen to “Signals Over the Air,” “War All the Time,” “Division St”). “For the Workforce Drowning” brought the war into the corporate world, “Marches & Maneuvers” brought it to the industrial world, and “Asleep in the Chapel” brought it to our religions.
But A City by the Light Divided puts the war on our streets, in our homes, and in our minds. With this album, the bombs and tanks are all around us. We are in the city, buildings topple behind us, women and children run past us, dust and rubble fill our lungs, and everything becomes explosions in the darkness.
Geoff’s vocals embody the rage of war. On track one he is awoken from a dream. On “Counting 5-4-3-2-1” he is the spirit of war. On “The Lovesong Writer” he is a child watching himself compose. When he whispers he is the Angel of Death. When he wails he is the chorus of crying mothers. When his vocals are static and urgent he is the oncoming army. At the end of “Into the Blinding Light” he is the multitudes fleeing for life. When he screams he is a direct hit bomb sending shrapnel in every direction. On the final track he is the lone lovesong writer.
The instrumentation feeds the visual. Feedback on the guitar evokes broken radio signals, Tim’s bass glissandos are launching missiles, and the guitars are the battalion of tanks and jets. The keyboards are mixed in very well, especially on the instrumental sixth track, an eerie civilian march.
Thursday is one of those bands that are done injustice to by being called “emo.” The deeper meaning and expressionism of their music cannot be reduced. A City by the Light Divided is the band’s most grandiose and mature album to date, expanding on the last album’s themes and throwing the audience right in the middle of it.
I swear I’m not on drugs. This album will consume you.
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| A CITY BY THE LIGHT DIVIDED
1) The Other Side Of The Crash / Over And Out (Of Control)
<< 2) Counting 5-4-3-2-1 >>
3) Sugar In The Sacrament
4) At This Velocity
5) We Will Overcome
6) Arc - Lamps, Signal Flares, A Shower Of White (The Light)
7) Running From The Rain
8) Telegraph Avenue Kiss
9) The Lovesong Writer
10) Into The Blinding Light
11) Autumn Leaves Revisited