04 Oct 2021 - Pat O'
Experimental/Electronic/Post Rock | Release date: 01 Sep 2021
Stunning artwork and brilliantly original musical wanderings make Those Damn Thieves mini album Coherent fascinating. Merging various musical styles and genres, this experimental release will shepherd you down many different alleyways and passageways. There is never a dull moment listening to Those Damn Thieves.
I have been writing music reviews for close on a year now and I must admit that it has positively changed my perception on music as a whole. I now find that I have a greater tolerance towards music I never would have though I could find something in. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t done a complete U-turn on my roots and on my passion for post everything, and all things rock and metal. That love is cemented deep within my being and will never be lifted. But my ears can now find something interesting in a song that comes at me right out of leftfield. I’ve concluded that if a piece of music speaks to you then that’s all that matters, right?. And interestingly, I find a lot of those “aw yea, that’s savage!” moments in music can often be casually categorised as “experimental” music. “Experimental” music is a genre that has great mammoth roller doors that stretch open to infinity. Music that has no fixed abode can always seek refuge in the home of the unlabelled, the experimental gathering of talent that has no affinity or loyalty to any one genre. It’s pure, honest and absolute.
This brings me nicely onto the next band I want to share with everyone. “Experimental” music is the perfect description to categorise Those Damn Thieves. Londons urban sprawl has definitely rubbed off on their sound and given them the edge and attitude that has allowed them create the deeply thoughtful and hard-hitting mini concept album Coherent. The concept behind Coherent is one of a heroine. In this story, the heroine protects the rest of us from the top of the city’s tallest skyline. Us mortals on the ground, absorbed to our own thoughts and the deafening noise of reality cannot comprehend that she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. It sounds a heavy topic and it is, but when Those Damn thieves put it into music, it’s a journey of positive highs and heart-breaking lows.
“Intrusive Thoughts” is the opening track and its trumpeting grand entrance had me immediately excited. A solid bass line joins in before a Moby moment from the album Play delivers a hook and a funky beat that has feet tapping and shoulders jumping. More gorgeous trumpets jazz up the atmosphere without being overly jazzy!!. A solemn Spoken passage speaks over deep-set violins before a “post rock” crescendo explodes with every instrument blowing and chugging an improvised finale.
What follows is the title track “Coherent” and it’s a completely different beast to the track that preceded it. Its seeped in electronica with samples and drum machines creating an atmospheric pocket of reverbed noises and dance-like rhythms. The voice of an angel flows over the music with grace and poise before a dirty distorted riff smears and blackens the moment. On paper this all sounds a bit off the wall, but it is a fantastic piece of electronic virtuosity synergised with industrial rawness.
“Weak In The Knees” opens with stringed acoustic chords complimenting the words the words “The path of righteousness is drawing close, even before the first light breaks, your enemies will fire a hundred rounds…The battle you seek has not even begun”. The words hit hard and continue through the track while violins and guitars lament the harrowing effects of the war inside your head. The melody is dark, the guitars shed bitter tears, while the drums choke up and pound right to the very end before it all fades out.
“Falling Building’s” violin scratches, married with a hard hitting urban narrated passage changes the dimension of the album once more. Massive Attack vibes are scattered and strewn across the territorial neighbourhood, spitting out ironhearted lyrics through jazz infused flashes and gritty bass lines. Another complete contrast to “Falling Buildings” is the closing track “The Knife”. Its gently distorted guitars bring the album back on a “post rock” tangent and ever so subtely brings the album to a close.
Those Damn thieves have taken risks and blended many musical styles. I found it original and thought provoking, others may think its all too disjointed and varied. You need to press play with an open mind and a clean slate. Coherent is a journey through a long bizarre avenue scattered with rickety shaped doorways. Each door you open surprises and bewilders with no two rooms ever housing the same revelations. I’m already looking forward to a full length album that I believe is currently being forged. Where will it take us.