Nothing But Thieves are: Conor Mason (vocals and guitar), Joe Langridge-Brown (guitar), Dominic Craik (guitar and keyboard), Philip Blake (bass) and James Price (drums)
For fans of: Muse, Royal Blood, Foals
Genre: Powerful, yet melodic, alternative rock
Nothing But Thieves certainly managed to steal the hearts of many with their self-titled debut album two years ago. Packed with the perfect mix of power ballads and fast-paced rock anthems; the next record was always going to have a lot live up to.
New album ‘Broken Machine’ sets off with the undeniable vigour of Conor’s vocals and punchy guitar riffs. Listening to ‘I Was Just a Kid’ without naturally breaking into a shimmy and head bang is an impossibility. Hit single ‘Amsterdam’ definitely stands out in the first half of the album though. The song has an immediately comforting familiarity to it; likely due to the relatability of finding a place of dreamlike tranquillity, away from the struggles of day to day.
Yet, from the title track, the genre takes an unexpected U-turn towards techno. Lyrically, Nothing But Thieves always stay strong, and there are guitars still in there somewhere, but traditional fans may struggle a little at first. No need to worry, as the energy soon returns with vengeance in ‘I’m Not Made by Design’, which undoubtedly has the strongest bassline of the band’s musical career. ‘Get Better’ also manages to achieve the right balance when building up to the chorus, unlike ‘Soda’ which falls a tad disappointingly flat…
Overall, ‘Broken Machine’ has many songs which outcompete those on the previous album. It is just a shame that there is not as consistent a strength in every track as fans are used to.
Where the band really thrives, and have gained most of their fans however, is live on stage. Even the likes of Muse recognised this when they chose to take Nothing But Thieves on tour with them a couple of years ago. The guys clearly learned a lot from sharing the stage with such major icons as their live presence has soared this year. During their very first festival headline slot at ‘2000 Trees’ this year, Conor had the confidence to invite a young boy on stage to sing with him, much to the jealousy of his twin brother left in the crowd. Through this performance, the band really proved that they have enough variety and depth in their songs to headline many more shows in the future.
Most importantly, Nothing But Thieves haven’t let success go to their heads just yet. Dom and Phil took the time to chat to myself and a friend in the queue for a classic festival pizza after their headline set at 2000 Trees this year. We can confirm that they are extremely down-to-earth guys, which just goes to highlight the authenticity of their music.
Download the brand new album ‘Broken Machine’ now from iTunes or Spotify. Make sure it’s the deluxe version to hear the beautiful acoustic version of ‘Sorry’.
Don’t miss out on seeing the band live on their UK tour this November, starting at the O2 Academy in Newcastle on the 5th, either:
Reviewed by: Dana Wilson