Nothing But Thieves have been a name on the lips of every rock fan in the last year or so. Exploding into mainstream music with a handful of incredible songs to their name, they have been featured on adverts, games, festival stages, the works. And with their self-titled debut album just released, there seems to be absolutely no stopping them now.
Nothing But Thieves is completely and utterly jam-packed with anthems. Every single one of the twelve tracks is unconditionally epic, be it one of their mammoth rock numbers, or beautifully lush ballads. The riffs of singles Ban All The Music and Itch are already telling of the quintet’s more radio-friendly sound, and while most of the album would fit that description, that’s not to say that there isn’t some experimentation going on. Painkiller seems to pay homage to punk with its hypersonic guitars, while Hostage sounds so ’80s it’s almost hard to believe that the same band is producing all of these songs. And the aforementioned ballads are just as impressive. If I Get High is simply gorgeous, transitioning from being sparse and vulnerable to a textured full band effort. Closer Tempt You is haunting and dreamily atmospheric, adding piano into the mix to create something effortlessly beautiful.
But it’s crystal clear that the main focus of Nothing But Thieves is singer Conor Mason. It’s a massive understatement to call him “talented”. The range of notes he is able to produce is nothing short of outstanding, as shown on magnificent opener Excuse Me, where he shifts from soft, wispy tones to a full-on falsetto. This falsetto is a core feature of most of the songs on Nothing But Thieves, and Mason’s vocal efforts are the reason why the band are so different to their fellow rock bands. The main thing that makes Nothing But Thieves as accessible as they are is the simplicity of the foundations of their tracks. Both the lyrics and riffs are easy to emulate giving it all public appeal, but the skills of each musician give it a more accomplished twist. It’s all very catchy at the base of the album, but the flair of Mason and guitarists Dom Craik and Joe Langridge-Brown don’t make this very obvious, which is refreshing.
Honestly, the slower songs on Nothing But Thieves may not be for everyone, especially those looking for more high-octane stuff. Lover, Please Stay is probably the blandest track on there, but the vocals and lead guitar line are stunning, distractions making the slight dryness ultimately not really matter. Looking closer at the dozen tracks, each one can clearly be sorted into either pure rock anthem or slow and lavish. It may sound a bit too formulaic, but it’s genuinely something that goes unnoticed unless you think about it.
Every single song on Nothing But Thieves is carried off with a swagger and confidence rarely seen in most bands nowadays. And what makes this so special is that the band more than have the material to match this attitude, be it the intense Graveyard Whistling or the sassy, sexy Trip Switch. Most people listening to this album will probably conclude that Nothing But Thieves are contenders to be one of the best new British bands of recent years. But they’d be wrong. They’re already the best thing this country has produced in a long time.
For fans of: Muse, Royal Blood, Sunset Sons
Words by Georgia Jackson
‘Nothing But Thieves’ by Nothing But Thieves is out now on Sony Music.