Nothing But Thieves – Dead Club City [Album Review]

Review: Jack Price 

Emerging in 2012 from Essex, England, Nothing But Theives have moved from milestone to milestone, with three Top 10 U.K albums, extensive touring and even featuring on the video game soundtrack for 2022’s Gran Trismo 7. A genuine British indie rock band akin to the likes of Franz Ferdinand, The Black Keysand The Arctic Monkeys, their unique sound has notes of jazz and blues that pair nicely with the hint of synth keys and guitar effects.

Dead Club City opens with the suedo-title track Welcome To The DCC, a funky guitar riffs echoing with silky smooth high vocals from the bands singer, Conor Mason, as the song builds before dropping into an almost Daft Punk style bridge. The song is fun and poppy, although an ominous undertone offers promises that while the lyrics offer all the best of life, with lyrics such as “all the heaven all the time” and “if you dream it, you can have it“, there is an uneasy feeling the offer is too good to be true.

The opening track is a polar opposite to the following Overcome, an emotionally charged ballad touching on the loneliness of being on the round, leaving behind a significant other to follow dreams and the finding of solace in returning home.

The boys bring the catchy rock with tracks like Tomorrow Is Closed, City Haunts and Do You Love Me Yetwhich tops up the concoction of fun with some impressive synth tunes and even chimes in the chorus, blending a spicy touch of the 80’s. Slowing the record down on Green Eyes :: Sienna, Foreign Language and Talking To Myself, the Brit rockers express a more soulful side that groove the album along nicely.

The album gets flipped on its head with tracks like Keeping You Around, lyrically expressing the turmoil caused by exposing an unfaithful lover and coming to the reality of what has been lost, and Members Only, being more rock based but easily related to by anyone who has ever found themselves somewhere they’re not meant to be but ultimately being a fun ride of unexpected circumstances.

The record ends on an absolute banger, Pop The Balloon, heavily distorted guitars, disorientating vocal mixes and a stop-start pace would make this track entertaining to witness live, (but for now I’ll have to stick to moshing in my car). The midway break with Mason operaticly crooning to a subtle, almost Tool-like riff is reminiscent of Muze.

The guitar work by Joe Langridge-Brown and Dominic Craik perfectly complimented by Philip Blake‘s work on the bass is funky, smooth and just the right amount of distortion and effects. James Price brings the whole sound together on drums, swapping from pumped up funk to slow, groovy rhythms, almost daring to be remixed for club bangers. The album is an emotional roller-coaster of upbeat rump shakers, soulful and bluesy expressions of intimacy, and poppy bangers that makes for an excellent refreshing change of pace from the daily grind of self indulgent and trivial messages of most pop music.

Nothing But Thieves – Dead Club City is out now via Sony Music.