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To visit the enormously special venue Albert Hall again was enough for me to snatch at the opportunity to watch Nothing But Thieves perform last week, from interviewing Slaves to watching Tom Chaplin, the lead singer from ill-fated pop rock band Keane whimsically perform ‘Please Please Please, Let Me Get What I Want’ here earlier this year I have shared some rather unforgettable experiences between those four walls.
The 8th of November was no exception, as Nothing But Thieves put on a performance that I can only describe as exhilarating. Conor Mason, their witty & charming frontman was ample entertainment in and of himself, as he spent the night being interchangeably humbled by the undying support of the audience and avidly animated as he coaxed the capacity crowd into fits of laughter when he fraudulently opposed to an audience member ‘dabbing’ before busting one out himself just moments later. As the band blasted through their impressive 19-song setlist, they demonstrated their effortlessly eclectic sound perfectly as they bounced from the personal (and at times audience-led) ballad ‘Soda’ to the intense and somewhat claustrophobic ‘Hostage’. They even threw in a couple of off-the-cuff tunes too, playing by request the groovy ‘Honey Whiskey’ followed not too long after by a cover of Tom Petty’s ‘Free Fallin’. It’s safe to say that Nothing But Thieves pull no punches and produce the kind of show that assaults the senses and leaves you feeling with a buzz of raw adrenaline that other shows just fail to produce.
Their tenacious and multifarious presence on the stage is emulated in their sophomore record ‘Broken Machine’ which moves ever so slightly away from the formula that brought them renowned success after the release of their self-titled debut record in 2015. Produced by Mike Crossey, (who is responsible for the first two Arctic Monkey’s albums) the record packs a powerful proverbial punch and delivers more politically charged and seemingly personal messages than its predecessor. From the rocketing riffs of the album’s title track ‘Broken Machine’ to the fantastic falsetto of the track ‘Particles’, (made especially beautiful as a stripped back piano version on the deluxe edition) the band show a very clear maturity and an understanding of the importance of coherence and musical flow between tracks. Their sound draws inspiration from audacious early efforts of Muse, with less of the spacey, confused synthesizers and more of the punchy, progressive guitar.
Ultimately, Nothing But Thieves have transformed themselves from potential alt-rock prospects to mainstay modern masterminds and are tearing up the scene both in the studio and on the road – with their ear-shattering riffs and tear-inducing falsettos, they are firing on all cylinders creatively and I await their next release with bated breathe.
‘Broken Machine‘ is out now, via Sony Music UK