This is a four track EP, and the second release from Noble Thieves. – Order Here.
It will being pressed by Analog Revolution Records, as a 10″ 45RPM EP.
A spokesperson from the team that is pressing the record had this to say:
This record, it’s physical existence, is monumental in and of itself. The final release is being made by hand, in small batches. It is, probably, the first record to be produced in this manner. If everything goes according to plan, this new production technique will reduce the barriers that prevent local and regional acts from releasing physical LPs, EPs, and singles. It could very well represent an institutional shift in the creation and consumption of physical releases.
But all that really matters is the music, and this is music that matters.
Sham Girl starts as a slow, quiet and contemplative track, with clearly delivered vocals over a simple guitar riff. There is a slight echo on the vocals, but otherwise they stand alone.
This first verse features some of the most sincere and emotionally complex lyrics on the EP, I am truly left with the sense that the sentiments the singer is expressing are deep and heartfelt. The simple delivery affords the listener the opportunity to meditate on the meaning of the words, and to understand them rather than just hearing them.
It builds from there to include a second guitar, a third, drums, distortion, electric riffs, becoming larger and stronger. The plainspoken vocals grow in urgency, and volume, The emotions that had been bristling under the surface coming through, leaving Christian, the vocalist, to strain under the weight of the words he is singing. At this point, track straddles the line between confident and defeated, the lyrics revealing the cracks in the facade that is the swagger of the delivery.
“Not Knowing it’s my words and my touch on your hand that makes you scared/but if ever your fear of me is too much for you to see/let me go.”
From there, the veritable electric cacophony dies away, and the final verse is delivered in the same simple manner as the first, until finally we’re left with just Christian’s voice, small and alone, delivering the last line “If ever I become/What you don’t see and love/Let me go” and then it’s over, and we have to live with that.
Abuse is a more typical Noble Thieves song. In stark contrast to the electric crescendo that serves as the climax of ‘Sham Girl’, ‘Abuse!’ is a quieter, acoustic affair. It features a banjo, a mandolin, an acoustic guitar, a piano, and enough cohesion to surprise and impress me on each listen.
The lyrics are fairly simple, and even a bit repetitive, but that works to the track’s advantage. They are deftly and earnestly delivered, and serve to compliment the instrumentation.
The production techniques, and the quality of the production, on this track (all of them, really, but this one specifically) serve as a testament to the care that the band took when recording it. Everything about this track was done with an astounding amount of care, and the finished product is an overwhelmingly good song.
‘Drum Roll’ is one of the first songs the band wrote, and it has long been a staple (and a crowd favorite) in concert. It is the least musically adventurous and most lyrically straightforward song on this EP. Sadly, it is also the least impressive, though that realization should serve more as a testament to the quality of the other tracks than as a judgement on this one. It is one of my favorite songs, and this record wouldn’t be complete without it.
Musically, it is a good representation of the bands live shows, featuring an acoustic guitar, a banjo, and a kick drum. The recording has less polish than the other tracks, not because less care was taken with it, but because this song actively resists attempts to soften it’s hard edges and the track is better for it.
“You won’t think of me when it’s cold/While you’re getting hot/You’ll only think of me when you’re unsatisfied/with what you’ve got. “
It’s a breakup song, an angry breakup song. The way it was recorded, the way it is presented, serves to reinforce the bitterness in the track.
This song is a meditation on life and loss. It is the most mellow track of the release and a perfect way to end the emotional journey that this EP represents. The lyrics, even after dozens of listens, still have secrets that I’m only beginning to understand.
Musically, the track is mostly just vocals and acoustic guitar, with the judicious use of basic drums to punctuate the development of the bridge and a backing synthesizer rounding out the last verse. This sparse arrangement works well for the song, which would have risked becoming unreasonably dense with any more complicated instrumentation.
“Was it really/all that hard to see/I only ever wanted to be/ the one to make you proud.”
This is a song that begs quiet contemplation, in those hours of the night that are so late that the verge on being early. When it’s over, every time it’s over, I realize that I have stopped whatever it is that I was doing to listen to it. It consistently captivates me, and I have to remind myself that life continues to exist in the world beyond these speakers and this record.
And, really, isn’t that what we want from our music?