Streetlight Manifesto - The Hands That Thieve (Cover Artwork)

Streetlight Manifesto

The Hands That Thieve (2013)


The wait is over. Streetlight Manifesto's fifth studio album has finally seen the light of day. I've always thought that Streetlight Manifesto, excluding the covers albums 99 Songs of Revolution: Vol. 1 and Keasby Nights, have been a consistently great band when it comes to releasing albums of original material. The music one hears when listening to the band pretty much does a number on the senses with its chaotic moments and instrumentation all over the place. Once again, Tomas Kalnoky and crew deliver another great album in The Hands That Thieve.

Now, their last album of original material Somewhere in the Between was pretty good. However, it didn't have the lasting power that Everything Goes Numb did. The songs, while excellent, were basically all at the same pace (in a hurried, speedy punk/ska tempo). There really weren't any slowed down moments or anything really different between each songs as far as the feel would go. Or nothing quite catchy enough, for that matter. It felt like it was trying to outdo Everything Goes Numb a little too much at places. The Hands That Thieve is very different in some ways to both previous Streetlight albums.

That's not to say The Hands That Thieve isn't basically what you'd expect music wise from the band: Lots of fast paced punk/ska. Great horn sections. Great use of gang/backup vocals. You get this right away in your face with the opening track "The Three Of Us." The second number, "Ungrateful," is just a great punk song with horns. It's basically your typical Streetlight album you'd expect up until the sixth track, "If Only For Memories." It has a nice Caribbean feel that makes you wanna groove (yeah, that's right, makes you wanna dance). From there the album slows down the tempo significantly. This is what Somewhere in the Between really needed.

You still get what you get usually from Kalonky with these songs in terms of subject matter. The second to last track "Oh Me, Oh My" is something that I totally would have put as the album's closer. It's the catchiest song they've done in... well... probably ever. It has a chord progression that's similar to "In My Life" by the Beatles at moments, plus a memorable chorus. It's a great farewell song. And the great chord at the end with the trumpet's note making it an Ab7 chord? It makes me smile.

The Hands That Thieve is what you'd expect from this band to put out, but there is something definitely more special about it compared to everything previous. It never stops being good throughout. And with that, this album is a strong contender to be one of the best albums of the year.