You might recall a great record released last year by Nic Armstrong & The Thieves, titled The Greatest White Liar. When Nic took his band on the road to support that album, they morphed into a musical democracy, becoming the product of four talented musicians rather than just the brainchild of one. Now known as IV Thieves, all four band members participate in the songwriting, while Nic shares lead vocal duties with guitarist Glynn Wedgewood and bassist Shane Lawlor. Together these guys have created an album that is filled with huge British guitar rock, surely to please fans of all things Oasis.
IV Thieves may have originated from England's capitol of crime, Nottingham, but they now call Austin their home. Even though they now have Texas zip codes, their sound is still one hundred percent British, which is partially why I just can't get enough of the new album, If We Can't Escape My Pretty. They take the best parts of The Kinks, The Beatles, Supergrass and Oasis, giving us an album chock full of blazing guitar greatness.
The album begins with the first single, "You Can't Love What You Don't Understand." You are smacked around with crunchy guitars while being pounded by their tight rhythm section and loving every second of it. This is the type of single that should be on every damn rock station in the country. Hopefully a few programmers will smarten up and give this one a listen.
The anglophile in me was like a magnet to songs such as "Catastrophe," crammed with dead-on three-part harmonies a la Supergrass and the Beatles. They keep the rock at full-throttle with the stomper, "Take This Heart." This particular song looks back just a bit to the Nic Armstrong days with a slightly bluesy feel, but this time round it is loud, loud, loud! The huge Gallagher-flavored guitars send this killer track into orbit. I am almost reminded of the now defunct band Pleasure Club while listening to this one in terms of volume and style. Damn I miss that band.
IV Thieves don't mind changing things up a bit, harnessing their inner-baggy pants-soul on the infectious "Higher." Think the grooves of Stone Roses, but with layers of awesome vocal harmonies over a sick repetitive guitar riff. Another standout is "Have Pity," a mighty angry track with wailing vocals and a fiery bluesy melody.
I've seen IV Thieves live, and have now heard their album from start to finish. They are definitely the real deal, bringing a much-needed blast of British guitar rock back to our ears. Go grab a pint of lager, put on your favorite Fred Perry polo, give somebody the finger and turn this one up clear to eleven.