Oh no, not another “the-something” band!
I must admit that that was my first thought. Then I clocked the mushrooms on the CD cover and wondered if I’d gotten a multi-person version of Devendra Banhart instead. And of course, the band’s name sent verses of Prince’s “Thieves in the Temple” coursing through my brain.
Thankfully, none of my worst suspicions came true. Instead, The Thieves are a hard-rockin’ band that sounds like Britpop hitting the Sunset Strip, and rather than marrying a prissy movie star, took home some riffs, long hair, and a heavy metal swagger. Obvious drug references aside–c’mon, guys, even Duff McKagan is sober now–The Thieves might just be the band to make rock arena-sized again without being cheesy. But hell, if they’re going to sing about drugs, at least they’re not singing about Ritalin or Vicodin. I hear cocaine is hip again, anyway, according to tabloid reports about British supermodels…
Anyway. The music! Tales From the White Line is psychedelic heavy rock with a taste of everything from AC/DC to U2 to the Cult. It’s too big and polished and complex to be garage rock, but it retains some of that flavor. If you don’t think of David Bowie’s “Heroes” while listening to “You Get It Easy,” I owe you a beer. There are hooks aplenty, guitars and vocals that beg to be heard in as big a venue as possible, or even–dare I say it?–on the radio. They’ve even got a power ballad (of sorts) in “My Old Mind.” But it’s the sass and strut of songs like “Gimme Some Lip” and “Just a Piece,” with the occasional spacey-glam synths and the smoky purr of whichever brother sings (they’re not identified–just “guitarist Hal and bassist Sam”) that makes this album worth the money. They’re a big bad rock band that you can listen to un-ironically. And they’re playing at Bender’s on November 14th.