"Sometimes you have to burn a bridge to change your mind/sometimes you have to start a fire to make it right." A poignant and powerful message, declared by singer and guitarist Billy Canino of Austin, TX—based pop—punk group Thieves. A band that has been grinding their teeth in the pop—punk scene for the past five years, a band that deserves more credit than they are worth. It is refreshing and humbling to hear something as aggressive and punchy as their latest release Colorchange, out now on 90 Five records.
The opening track, "Smoke Signals," is a song that you will not be able to listen to once. One that revs you up for the rest of the album, yet disables you from moving on to hear the other four songs of aggressive pop—punk mastery. "Smoke Signals" is about moving on and finding out what you actually deserve despite the lack of respect from others. Its time to find out what Thieves actually deserves, which is far more than what they receive.
The title track, "Colorchange," is less punchy, more ambient but just as powerful. Open ended guitars break into driving, constant drums that go from every other beat to a barrage of snare hits that overtake the listener. Tremolo'd guitars lay over the top of crunchy flowing guitars, chugging and strummed with precision and dexterity. A song about following your path and not that of others, a true punk statement that many in this lifestyle can identify with. Leads played by guitarist Chris Skiles in the chorus stand out strongly, cutting and opaque, complimenting the head bobbing beat that lays under them.
"Weight," the closing track, is on the smoother side. Opening with the downbeat, open ended heaviness found on the rest of the album, clean guitars soon dance in and out of peppy snare hits as the the band takes a new direction. Showing a softer side, reminiscent of a quicker Balance and Composure with a more upbeat vocalist. Drummer Tyler Gros displays his mastery within this song. Transitioning from the dancing, sporadic, all across the kit drumming heard in the verse, to the pounding open—ended, bass—heavy hits of the intro and outro, and back to the driving rhythm of the chorus with ease. The song bows out for a second, as the pre—chorus bleeds into a still soft chorus. The intro comes back as a bridge, the clean guitars sparkle on for a quick second, then the chorus quickly has new life breathed into it, heavy and domineering, powerful and beautiful. A post—rock, tremolo'd, bass—drum—heavy, heart—pounding section disintegrates to a chilling, icy outro. Complete with vocals sung at a distance, guitars that breathe in and out in reverse and the lines "Try to drown out the voice in my head." Completing an album that will allow you to do just that. Relax, breathe and drown out that voice, listen to the lessons of Thieves and restart your life.
An album that draws the best from such aggressive pop—punk bands as No Trigger, Rufio and Polar Bear Club, while creating space to compete with such softer acts as Stickup Kid and Balance and Composure is one that is not to be missed. Complimented by a crisp clean recording, that brings out the aggressive nature, yet melodic and soft under touches, of this ambient pop—punk group is not one to be ignored. You should do neither. Do yourself a favor and listen to Colorchange.