Showing posts with label nothing but thieves. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nothing but thieves. Show all posts

Monday, September 11, 2017

video review: 'broken machine' by nothing but thieves

Ooh, I know I'm not going to make any fans for this one, especially after a particularly bad day of subscriber growth...

Eh, hopefully things will recover with Alvvays and The National hopefully coming up soon, but first, Billboard BREAKDOWN! Stay tuned!

album review: 'broken machine' by nothing but thieves

Of all of the albums that have landed on my schedule this year, this is among the more perplexing additions. And the funny thing is that you wouldn't think that if you knew anything about the group, but I'm perplexed all the same... mostly surrounding why anyone would want me to cover this. Let's get real here, I may have gone off on a rant on Twitter how modern hard rock frustrates me with its embrace of distorted blocky tuneless masses instead of actual melodic hooks, but the truth is that all of modern rock radio frustrates me these days, because on the flipside of the breakdown-obsessed chunks of riff we have the sleeper hold of reverb-soaked indie rock with lyrics that in a better era would be laughed off stage. And while of course there are exceptions - hell, I can't stop listening to that last Deaf Havana album which in retrospect defied entirely too many expectations and deserves a lot more attention - the rule is that once we tread into what's now defined by major labels as 'alternative rock', I have a hard time staying awake, especially if I spot the acts who obviously inspired them.

Enter Nothing But Thieves, another British alt-rock group that has toured with your trendy staples on rock radio that are hard to describe as rock, like AWOLNATION and twenty one pilots. Yes, they toured with Muse - their most blatant inspiration, especially for frontman Conor Mason - but they are a poor man's Muse at best, with nowhere near the progressive compositional chops and a penchant for theatricality that didn't always stick the landing. I don't think they're a bad group - good guitar and bass interplay can redeem a lot, and in terms of ballads they stuck the landing - but that self-titled debut in 2015 just didn't resonate much with me - not bad but not particularly remarkable. But apparently their sophomore album is a lot better and is even picking up a bit of critical acclaim, and my Patreon supporters wanted me to cover this before The National or Alvvays - indie rock groups I was very much interested in exploring - so what the hell: how is Broken Machine?