If you have followed Thursday through the years and aren't a sixteen year old girl (or perhaps boy, now that I think about it...) you have been struck by the Thursday conundrum: how can the music be so good and the band so successful with a singer who pathologically cannot sing in tune. Tom Waits is an Irish Tenor comparison, and Thursday singer Geoff Rickley is without the benefit of the Waits charm. Or mystique. Most of the lyrics are wincingly high school, but maybe I'm aging out of the Epitaph demographic. Either way, Cher uses less auto-tune than Rickley. The spoken word parts don't do that much for me, either, but zillions of suburban 'punks' dig them, so what do I know.
Vocals aside, Common Existence does have some great moments. The riffs that drive 'friends in the armed services' and 'you were the cancer' are top-notch and Tom Keeley definitely deserves a lot of credit for keeping things interesting in the Thursday camp. Dave Fridmann is behind the boards again for Thursday, no doubt giving a host of Fredonia's finest ample practice comping vocal tracks. He adds some interesting textural elements and keeps the Thursday sound as big as we've come to expect it. It's a little bright and shiny for my tastes, but it sure is some ear candy. Not really my thing, but if your idea of good political punk bands are Rise Against and Anti-Flag, Common Existence should be next on your list of records to get stat.