21 February 2009

Catching up with The View and Thurday

Time is a major constraint, and these two albums should have been mentioned already. So here I go, making up for lost time.

The View: "Which Bitch?"

The View's "Which Bitch?" is no sophomore slump. The title refers to "Which bitch am I singing about in this song?" Released in the UK on 2 February 2009 (17 February 2009 in the USA), “Which Bitch?” is free of any standard formula; each song starts from a nebulous space in consciousness and takes its own form. This gives each song its own freshness and unpredictability. The album draws influence from various different genres, including indie pop and ska. One really unexpected song was “One Off Pretender,” which includes rapping elements. Orchestrated strings are infused into “Unexpected” and “Distant Doubloon.” (Lyrically this song cracks me up: "There will never be colour in the sea, if you don't have eyes to see. So please don't dwell upon your wooden leg, your limp is boring me.") Paolo Nutini has a guest appearance on the song “Covers,” which was an amazing surprise. The album ends much as it begins: on a mellower, indie pop note. There is no attempt to sandwich the music between two grandiose songs; instead, each song is strong on its own merits, making this a great collection of songs.

Check out the band on their homepage and YouTube Channel. Here is an acoustic performance of their first single off of the album, “5 Rebeccas”:

Track Listing - "Which Bitch?"
1. Typical Time 2
2. 5 Rebeccas
3. One Off Pretender
4. Unexpected
5. Temptation Dice
6. Glass Smash
7. Distant Doubloon
8. Jimmy's Crazy Conpsiracy
9. Cover - ft. Paolo Nutini
10. Double Yellow Lines
11. Shock Horror
12. Realisation
13. Give Back the Sun
14. Gem of a Bird

Thursday: "Common Existence"

I first saw Thursday live at the Curiosa Festival in 2004 at Randall's Island. I like my share of hardcore and post-hardcore bands, but have usually found it difficult to sit through hours of listening to these bands live. Not Thursday, I was immediately entranced as they were playing. Post-hardcore referes to a range of bands that were influenced by hardcore (punk and metal) musicians, but who are concerned with expanding their genre beyond the normal conventions, incorporating elements of music from other genres. Thursday has this down to a artform!

"Common Existence" was released on 17 February 2009 and is Thursday's fifth album. They are not as glossy as nu-metal bands, nor are they stripped down like traditional hardcore bands; instead they strike the perfect balance again and again. This ablum sounds urgent, from the opening track, "Resusitation of a Dead Man," the album hits you with its power. "Time's Arrow" stands out as the sole acoustic song, with beautiful keyboard arrangments. The album closes with "You Were the Cancer," which demonstrates the fact that Thursday has pop-sensibility. This song is an epic adventure through a thick soundscape that reminds me of the harder post-punk music of the early 80s.

I have always felt that Thursday represents what is sorely lacking in the hardest spectrums of rock: a band that defies to be pinned down and labelled by their genre. This is a band that has attracted a wide range of individuals as an audience, while continuing to experiment with their sound. "Common Existence" is no exception. Receiving greater critical and fan reception then their last effort, "A City by the Light Divided" (2006), this ablum will definitely revive your faith in hardcore music.

Check out Thursday at their homepage and MySpace. You can check out their video for "Resuscitation of a Dead Man" on MySpace video.

Track Listing - "Common Existence"
1. Resuscitation of a Dead Man
2. Last Call
3. As He Climbed the Dark Mountain
4. Friends in the Armed Forces
5. Beyond the Visible Spectrum
6. Time's Arrow
7. Unintended Long Term Effects
8. Circuits of Fever
9. Subway Funeral
10. Love Has Led Us Astray
11. You Were the Cancer