Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered and mastered by Matt Oliver
Some days we pretend like we're machines. We act as if we're just automobiles - counted on to start reliably every morning, in any condition. It could be bitterly cold. It could be unhealthily hot. There could be a deluge of rain, snow, hail, whatever could be falling from the sky at any given moment. We are relied on to react to the "key" being turned and he parts given their little doses of gasoline - getting that fuel into the lines. We haul the bones and the muscles, all the organs and our pleasantness wherever our day planner of Google calendar tells us to haul them. We act as if everyone else is an automobile, as well, doing similar hauling and being counted on to operate without paying much attention to what's really affecting it. New Jersey band Thursday, takes us into this world of clean math and messy summations, where there's a belief that things should work out, but the truth is typically nothing like that and these machines have a hard time dealing with these travesties, with being broken down on the side of the road, even if that was only a matter of time. There's stock put into the metal hearts of these machines, these versions of machines. We trust that they'll stay in good shape, that they'll continue to receive whatever nourishment we send their ways, via the gullet, via the day or night. We trust that they'll behave themselves and that other metal hearts, in those other passing machines will do the same. It will all be mutually beneficial, but, wouldn't you know it, the short straw usually gets pulled. As machines go, there are a lot of lemons and they're always hard to tell until you begin to get dirty and start kicking their tires some, sleeping with them, finding yourself caring for them too much. Thursday lead singer Geoff Rickly has made it a point to chronicle these abrasive tendencies in humans and the ways that they find of orbiting around each other, coming in contact with one another and spinning out, busting through the guard rails and plunging over the sides of mountains into heaps of mangled metal and surprise. He finds magic in the moments when people are falling apart, when they're breaking down and leaving wide swatches of their hide behind them, as if a trail, like the scattered pieces of semi tractor tires lying on the interstate to be dodged and avoided by everyone following. He finds magic in the ways that people act as if they're islands, or the unstoppable machines mentioned above, moving through their dawns and dusks as if they'll always be there and they can't be bested or dented, ruffled or rearranged. He brings this beautiful coldness, an arching kind of free-fall or flailing feeling into the words that he sings. He offers, "The more you take, the more you leave," here and there's an unbearable openness to the sentiment that still allows it all to be said. It's a slab of rubbery tread causing another swerving machine to react, hopefully well enough.