joining the reviewerati

Today I landed my first review assignments from Slant. I’ll be giving my take on the February releases from perpetual mopesters Thursday and Morrissey, to appear sometime around their release dates – both albums are slated for the 17th. I’ll also get to review the new Mos Def in the unlikely event that it sees a release next month.

The Thursday album is called Common Existence, which is a truly awful title, and on first listen the album sounds like a step down from the elegant post-hardcore/post-rock fusion of A City By the Light Divided. The songs aren’t as tightly crafted, and all the disparate elements don’t totally cohere. The album plays a lot like War All the Time, their sophomore outing, in a lot of ways: it’s experimental, but feels transitional rather than assured andĀ  parts of songs stand out moreso than individual tracks themselves. To be fair though, I’ve been in a minority amongst Thursday fans in defending City as the band’s best work. Most prefer War. And before I scare you away, let me say a few things I like about the record: there are a lot of cool ideas on it, strong tracks outnumber skippable ones, and one track in particular – “Time’s Arrow” – stood out as on par with the band’s best songs with one listen. Ther are some really bracing and urgent highlights, and I do think this album’s power will grow with repeated listens.

I haven’t played the new Moz yet, but I was impressed when I heard the first single. “The First Of the Gang to Die” was the last song he did that held up to his best Smiths output. So who want’s to wager on whether or not he’ll give us anything as lovely as this?

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~ by staticandme on January 26, 2009.

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