Thieves Like Us – Play Music (Shelflife) 15/06/09

June 20, 2009 by  

thieves like us

Alluding to past greats is always a dangerous game to play. Thieves Like Us have decided to do just so, and have clearly used their moniker as an musical epigraph. Naming yourself after a New Order song lays down some pretty weighty expectations. The post punk band fused together a sound which echoed the harshness of the desolate warehouses around Manchester in a time of great economic despair. Fast forward twenty years and every tabloid journalist is predicting a return to those bleak times. So it seems fitting that the sound of Factory records should be revisited, even if it is by two Swedes and an American. Despite their eclectic nature, Thieves Like Us’ debut clearly tries to revisit those times.

As you would expect, the album is a predominantly moody synth driven affair. Luckily there is enough substance here to prevent the music falling into a state of inane bleeps and beats. The result is an album, which although on the surface acts retrospectively, tries to breakdown the preconceptions of modern electro. Subsequently it sounds like the soundtrack to an MDMA addled night in Berlin with Tony Wilson on the decks.

The more ambient moments of the record of ‘Desire’ and ‘Program of The First Part’ lack some much needed immediacy and the record’s lyrical efforts are incredibility contrived at times. As the word ‘Mezzanine’ is dribbled over beats, you can’t but feel this is a record made for posh twats to snort illicit substances too in a loft conversion in Shoreditch. Maybe that’s a little harsh on the band, but when you name yourself after the gods of your genre, you’ve got to have the songs to back it up with.

[Rating:3]

By Chris Cummins

www.myspace.com/thieveslikeus


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