For a band whose fortunes rose with the evolution of post-hardcore, an album like Thursday's Common Existence is a bit of a gamble. It's not that the North Jerseyites have completely abandoned their roots, and "post" itself is an indication of departure and experimentation no matter the genre it modifies. Still, Geoff Rickly and company have moved far enough afield that the label is now at best a loose fit. Among the album's 11 tracks, only "Resuscitation of a Dead Man" and "Last Call" cater to the band's hardcore following, moving past its roots — both literally and metaphorically — by the third track. The balance nods more to post-grunge than post-hardcore, with Rickly's vocals reflecting shades of Chris Cornell, and Collective Soul shining down midway through the prog-inflected "Circuits of Fever." Andrew Everding's keyboard textures frequently provide more framework and thrust than Tom Keeley and Steve Pedulla's guitars, helping ground the album's sound in mood and melody, while the lyrical cues point to themes of disillusionment and hope, and the interchangeability and relativistic nature of those concepts re: the human condition. Ultimately, Common Existence may prove to be a line of demarcation around which old allegiances are abandoned and new associations formed. Isn't that part of the common existence of musicians everywhere?
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