A couple of days before Nothing But Thieves released their debut, they signed with RCA Records, pushing the US release to early 2016, and while they will have to wait, it is without a doubt a great way to kick off one’s debut.
‘Excuse Me’ opens the album with some heavy and steady drums, singing “excuse me while I run” but my dear boys, there is no need for excuses. This introduction has singer Conor stretching his lungs and we have officially boarded the boat of rock. ‘Ban All The Music’ – an ironic title that does not necessarily sound like a hit single — ended up doing well on airplay earlier this year, as well as positive feedback from their fan base.
In the middle of the album, we find ‘Graveyard Whistling’ that was previously released on an EP in 2014. If there is a song you want to play someone to introduce them to Nothing But Thieves, it is this one. In three minutes and 52 seconds, you have an idea what this band is about. An absolute highlight has to be one of the quieter songs ‘Lover, please stay’ because A) Conor’s voice is outstandingly good, it is goosebumps-inducing, and B) here we have the Jeff Buckley Vibe, and that can never ever be a bad thing.
In an article earlier this year, I said lead singer Conor Mason “most of all reminds me of a 1992 young version of (a less disturbed and drug-free) Joshua Homme, mixed with Matthew Bellamy’s vocal range.” And it is true, there is a definite Muse atmosphere when he opens his mouth, and while the easy way out of a review is to compare them to artists before them and say “this I like this I do not like” it’s impossible to not address is vocal. He falls into the same prestigious category of rock musicians alongside Homme, Bellamy, Bono and Thom Yorke. (All singers rock musicians with a broader vocal range than the norm.) That is all there is to it, and it should be applauded.
If you as an artist is strongest as a live act, it can be a downright nightmare to translate that to a recorded album. When you play live, you can feed off the audience, you are in the moment. But what about when you are in a studio? The technique is good and all, but you have got to mean it. You have to break the code and make the connection from stage to studio. Luckily, it sounds like Nothing But Thieves could do it in their sleep.
The closing song ‘Tempt You (Evocatio)’ is the song for your playlist when you are heading home after a gig. It is a comedown, a lure, it is a flirt and a siren drawing you in. And a beautiful one at that. It is splendid in how it builds atmospherically in contrast of lyrics, and if you had forgotten to breathe for a little while, this one is one big breath of oxygen.
They have achieved an album people want to listen to more than once. That might sound like a silly accomplishment, but it is vital for the listener. You want to listen and feel it out again and again. Whenever you click play on ‘Itch’ you discover new layers, you want to keep listening to that intro of ‘Trip Switch’. And with all this, it sounds like they haven’t made any compromises In terms of what product they wanted to attain and deliver.
Article by Flipse Flebo