Thieves and Villains – Movement

Band: Thieves and Villains
Album: Movement
Genre: Pop Rock
Label: Victory

1. Dry Throats Unite
2. Movement
3. Let Go
4. I Have Spread Some Love
5. Everyone Believes
6. All I Needed
7. Shimmer
8. Who Am I To Say Night
9. Atlantic Lungs
10 Worlds Apart
11. Settle New York Settle

We all go through phases in life in which we try out new hobbies or avenues just to see where it takes us. We don’t change who we are at the core, but rather take on some new appendages for the thrill of a new environment. This summer, Victory Records is diving a bit into pop rock where they would normally be related to the emo scene or hardcore/metal music. The first offering from this new world of Victory music is Thieves and Villains debut record, Movement, which is almost literally a by the books pop rock record. Is Victory playing it safe? Perhaps there’s more to this band than meets the eye, but I guess we’ll have to dive a bit deeper to figure that out.

Movement gets off to a riveting start with the perfectly written, “Dry Throats Unite.” Form the solemn musical intro to the more than approachable vocals of Sergio Otaegui, this song is as engaging as any band could hope a first track could be. Musically speaking, it rises from somber tones to a near epic closing progression that makes you anxious to see what the rest of the album can hold and the lyrics have a bit of profanity to let you know these boys aren’t your mother’s idea of a good clean rock band. The title track, “Movement,” follows suit with being instantly engaging. Sergio’s vocals seem to fall below he cymbals and guitar line though and that kills the initial intensity they’re trying to set, but it does work out in the long run. The song itself seems to be constantly building and building to something bigger, but I’m not sure we ever reach whatever it is we’re supposedly racing towards. However, for the time it plays, you’re completely into whatever lines they want to feed you and that’s really what counts in the short run which is generally all it takes to get you to buy into the band.

The third track track, “Let Go,” is a bit more formulaic than the previous track, but Sergio’s vocal are instantly memorable and capsulizing in a way that makes you want to like the song, but on repeat listens, it just doesn’t hit as hard as you feel it should. It’s hard to explain, but something inside tells you it’s catchy and should be making your feet move, but instead it just falls flat. The next track which holds a lot of similarity to Mayday Parade, is slightly bette.r “I have Spread Some Love,” has the kind of thick bass line most only dream of achieving on record. In an age where digital bass is all the rage, it’s nice to see a band letting an instrument take the lead on the bass line for a change. The song itself is beautiful and makes you wish every track could sound like it, however the reference to the ocean and the general chord progression screams Mayday Parade to the extent I had someone ask me if that’s who I was listening to. I believe two bands can have the same idea, but given the amount of time between the releases and the feel of the other tracks on the disc, this is a bit of a stretch. Lucky for Thieves and Villains though, “All I Needed, comes swooping in to rebuild our faith in their album. The song has a slightly more laid back feel with a lot of emphasis on cymbal work and vocals, but it still packs a lot of punch, so much so that it may just be the best track on the whole album. Sergio’s vocals never sound more heartfelt and the talk of family and friends obviously hits a chord for the whole band.

The final stretch of the album kicks off great with, “Atlantic Lungs,” a solid rocker with a very engaging guitar line that pulls you in by mixing pop punk chord works with near angels and Airwaves lead work. This is the kind of song that can sell an album and I’m sure Tony Brummel is more than well aware of this. In fact, I, as you may have noticed, haven’t been sold on this band, but this track made me go back even more to try and see if I had just missed something. Unfortunately it seems this is just a flash in the pan track on a lukewarm record and that’s depressing. However, there’s always a chance this is a glimpse into what could come next for Thieves and Villains, so there is hope. “Worlds Apart,” is meant to be the romantic sad and slow song on the album, but carries about as emotional weight as a brick. Once again we are greeted with great production, music, and decent lyrics, but it just feels forced and generic. Maybe I’ve just been exposed to much pop punk/rock in my days, but I felt like I’d heard each part of this song ten times before and that just can’t be sold to me anymore. All is saved however with, “Settle New York Settle,” which defines epic in the world of pop rock. From a simple introduction to a musically engulfing close, this tracks walks you to your door in the rain and kisses you goodnight before disappearing into silence. It’s the track that makes you go, “I would listen to this again,” and that’s exactly what every band hopes to achieve on the last track.

Thieves and Villains debut album, Movement, is an album that really leaves you perplexed as to how you should feel. the production is gorgeous, as is much of the arrangements, but very little sticks out of the disc. It’s solid in the idea that nothing is really horrible, but at the same time, not a single line or section of any song will be stuck in your head in your head in the coming days. I’m guessing with their disheveled hair and crooked smiles that these boys will lure quite a few young music fans into their realm, but for those of us who’ve been on the pop rock scene for awhile, we’re left unimpressed. So if you’re one to go on a whim to the record store and just want something light to get you through the summer heat, then by all means pick up this album, but if you’re looking for tat next genre defining album that’ll last more than a season, be a bit more cautious here as this band may or may not have what it takes to leave an impact.

*Written By: James Shotwell*
GRADE: 4.5/10

James Shotwell
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