Only Thieves

Heartless Romantics

Written by: PP on 05/03/2011 04:46:14

I just love it when bands begin to show their potential big time. The previous Only Thieves release "Greetings From Levy Park, T.L.H" took its cues from Bruce Springsteen mainly while adding in some quirky original post-hardcore elements from bands like Bear Vs Shark and so forth, but failed to excite this scribe due to somewhat lacklustre songwriting. "Heartless Romantics", their debut full length, fixes just about every flaw I commented on in my review, refining the band's sound to one that's their own while still wearing its influences proudly on its sleeve.

This time around, the influence of newer The Gaslight Anthem material is quite clear, as is stuff like The Cold Beat, American Steel, The Replacements and any other modern (or old) punk band that relies on easy-going vocals and slow-to-medium tempo as the core of their sound. There's also a healthy amount of harmonica and other minor additions to give the songs additional character, though vocalist Jeremy Barnes' friendly, nostalgia-filled delivery already takes care of that need. The guitars are now mood-setting instead of just lingering around aimlessly, forming passages and sequences that are genuinely interesting. They aren't always outright catchy, but often subtly so, a key ingredient in longevity and repeat listen value. Of the highlights, one could mention "All The Sad Young Men" or "Flood Lights" for their emotional delivery, or mostly any other track from the record for that matter, because they all manage to capture a mood, a feeling of some sort, and they do so effectively and convincingly enough to make you want to listen to the songs over and over again.

There's an inviting sense of familiarity to the music created by the meeting of three very different genres: punk, rock, and indie. Somewhere in between the three of those you'll find the core sound of Only Thieves, one that relies on the honest of the former, the drive of the middle one, and the quirk of the latter to deliver an emotionally charged, passionate sound without resorting into breakneck speed, screaming or any of that nonsense. They simply do it with a decent amount of polish in their sound to obtain that clean, rock-ish guitar sound, but most of all with good songs.

7

Download: All The Sad Young Men, Flood Lights, The Ballad Of The Aluminum Girl
For the fans of: The Replacements, American Steel, The Cold Beat, The Gaslight Anthem
Listen: Myspace

Release date 18.01.2011
Self-Released

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