For the past few weeks, Thursday have been recording the as-yet-untitled follow-up to 2003's War All the Time at producer Dave Fridmann's Tarbox Road Studios in snowy Cassadaga, New York. And frontman Geoff Rickly's been struggling to fill in a blank.
"I'm missing one line from this song. It's always when you're down to one line, you're just like, 'What the f--- is this missing line supposed to be?' " said a frustrated Rickly about Thursday's forthcoming album (see "Thursday Frontman Says He Doesn't Want To Exploit My Chemical Romance, But ..."). "I have been obsessing over this one lyric. Usually the whole song just comes out in like a burst and I've got it. I know what the song's about, how I'm going use this, that this is a metaphor for this, that this is the antithesis of this, and here's the crux of the song ... and the climax is going to happen when this person says this. Boom, I got it. And then, basically, I've told the story already but there's this spot where I don't have a lyric. And I think, 'Well, I've said everything I want to say but I know a lyric needs to be there. ... So what am I going to say?' I don't want it to be worthless, but I don't want it to change the story too much."
But Rickly's not about to let a dearth of lyrics rain on his parade. He says he's relishing the recording process and is "stoked" about the sounds he's been creating with his band and Fridmann (Sleater-Kinney, the Flaming Lips).
"With [War All the Time], it was sort of us really trying to build one color and have it be like this impenetrable, deep, dark place," Rickly said. "[The next record] almost feels like the polar opposite — trying to explode into a thousand different colors. On the last record, we went for this one thing and some people hated it. And now we're doing this totally other thing and it's really exciting. Maybe some people will hate this record too, but it doesn't matter — this is totally gratifying to me. I've listened to [some of the] songs [we've recorded], and I'm like, 'Holy sh--, that's my band. I can't believe these are our songs.' "
So far Thursday have recorded 17 songs, five of which are all but mixed. Another 10 are nearly complete, "but you can tell they could be better somehow. So those, we keep on going at, until it becomes magic like [with] the five we've got done." Two other tracks are far from being finished and still need vocals.
No matter how many tracks Thursday complete, Rickly says the forthcoming LP — which they hope to turn in to their label, Island, by March 1 — will contain just 12 songs. Rickly said three songs are surefire album contenders: "At This Velocity," "The Love Song Writer" and "Into the Blinding Light" — "more of a sort of crazy, chaotic, post-industrial nightmare-type song, with tons of keyboards. It's very abrasive."
"I feel like each song has a completely new vantage point, almost like we're a slightly different band for each song," he said. "And it feels really good because it's like, there'll be this huge epic, almost U2-like thing, and the next thing that will come will just be like an exploding, super-fast-paced pop song, and then right after that, the craziest, most chaotic, avant-hardcore stuff that we've ever done and then the fourth song will be a real meditation that's down-tempo and not completely crazy but really intense and soft. I don't know — it's really exciting for me."
But Rickly says he's most excited about "A City by the Light Divided," which, if all goes well, will be one of the most innovative songs of Thursday's career. He said they've approached seven bands — including the Blood Brothers, Converge, Cursive and the Blackout Pact — to assist them with the collaborative track.
"The whole band will be collaborating on the song, rather than just singers, and it's more of a combined effort for the overall song rather than just, 'Here's your part we wrote for you, go have fun,' " he explained. Instead, "it'll be as if they were all members of [Thursday] — or all these bands taking part, working towards one song, like a super-band of some sort. It's exciting because I don't know that this has ever been done before.
"They're each going into their own studios, where they're comfortable, and taking some of our recordings with them and going to work on it, messing around, and reinterpreting the song as their own," Rickly continued. "Hopefully, eventually, they'll all come together in an amalgamation of some sort. We'll take what they recorded and somehow smash it in [with Thursday's original recording] somehow. The hope is that it'll come off really well, because we've kind of clued [these bands] in to how we plan on using them. We'll see how it goes. It might not work. But [Fridmann] said it might. If it does, it will be pretty f---ing cool."