Streetlight Manifesto

The Hands That Thieve

Written by: PP on 13/05/2013 22:18:49

You have to go back at least seven years to find a ska punk album as good as the new Streetlight Manifesto album "The Hands That Thieve", all the way back to the dual masterpieces by Catch 22 and RX Bandits" in 2006. These were albums released almost simultaneously that demonstrated to larger audiences that not all ska needs to be Reel Big Fish style bright trumpets meet pop punk, it can also come in darker and more progressive formats.

That is exactly what "The Hands That Thieve" is: a dark and a progressive ska album that's bursting from songwriting brilliance and innovation within the genre. Throw away all your preconceptions about the genre's perceived lack of intellect and its party-driven tendencies, because this album is none of that. Instead, Streetlight Manifesto explore progressive song structures, dark melodies, and unusual time signatures in a soundscape where each instrument has its own, defining role to safeguard. That's why you can't call it a trombone-driven album or a trumpets-driven album, because they are both dueling for space with the guitar, the thick bass lines, and the rhythmic texture of the drums. It's a constant barrage of intricate melodies that display heaps of songwriting depth, and they do all this while also being insanely catchy, as the powerful gang-shouted chorus of "With Any Sort Of Certainty" showcases. That's right, I just said there are gang vocals on a ska album. Intrigued yet?

The vocals, in the meantime, borrow more from Fat Mike's (NOFX) snarly style than from the bright and optimistic style of, say, Big D And The Kids Table. The slightly angry delivery should also remind our local readers of Stream City, who have no doubt been influenced heavily by earlier Streetlight albums I'm sure. They add yet another layer on top of the already complex arrangement of instrumental prowess, which ranges from fast-paced punk rock (even hardcore-ish) to slower ska ballads ("Toe To Toe" for example) when reduced to its core, while embedding a wealth of other fascinating instrumentation on top.

You can't overstate how good this album is, especially in light of how few great ska albums there have been in recent years. There isn't a single bad song on this record, and multiple incredible ones. It's an instant classic, a seminal album that'll be talked about for years to come. Don't miss out.


Download: The Three Of Us, With Any Sort Of Certainty, If Only For Memories, They Broke Him Down,
For the fans of: Catch 22, RX Bandits, NOFX, Stream City
Listen: Facebook

Release date 30.04.2013
Victory Records

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