When Thieves Are About

Challenger EP

Written by: PP on 25/02/2011 19:59:51

If you've recently browsed the Last.fm pages of bands that sound like Set Your Goals, chances are you'll have seen some maniac pasting "if you like bands such as Fireworks, Set Your Goals, Such Gold, Transit give When Thieves Are About a listen" with a link to a free Mediafire download of their debut EP "Challenger" alongside the mandatory Twitter and official website links. It's usually riddled with bad grammar and spelling, but sometimes chaotic promotion has its benefits, such as in this case, given the band caught my interest simply because their record was being practically shoved down the throats of like-minded fans, so I figured I'd download it and give the tiny band a review on a prominent magazine. That's not to say all of you readers should be likewise going about spamming Last.fm, mind you.

Anyway, despite the implication created by posting on the wall of Set Your Goals, When Thieves Are About don't really sound like any of the bands they're advertising. Instead, their sound recalls hints from the pop-punk infused screamo of early Boys Night Out, especially in the quiet/loud, slow/fast dynamics of the intro track "It All Starts Here", but also on the first real track "Turning Pages", which has equal parts gang shouted hardcore punk as it does emotionally wrought pop punk. The latter is what makes the track stand out, as it's not exactly difficult to tell just how much emotion the band members are pouring into the vocals in particular, but also into the melodic licks and the occasional technical passages. "Mezzaluna" brings into mind the first Thrice record, back when they were playing hardcore punk for those not in the know, complete with extremely dodgy production that gives the record a raw, unadulterated vibe overall. While this is a strength in some ways, it's also ultimately the biggest weakness of "Challanger", as all too often the band sounds too quiet, the instruments too muddy and messy, to make an impression.

The good news is that the songwriting is at a level in which I'd feel relatively confident shoving some money in the direction of these guys in the hopes of them creating a superb EP/album in a proper studio environment. This would, of course, require the band to cut down on the screaming slightly, or at least balance it a little better like on "Turning Pages", but the basic ingredients for a solid screamo/pop punk hybrid are there. For now, check out the EP for free, but wait for a better produced one to form an opinion.

Download: The whole EP for free (legally)
For the fans of: early Boys Night Out meets early Thrice
Listen: Myspace

Release date 2010

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