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Album Review: Only Thieves - Heartless Romantics

2009 saw Tallahassee’s Only Thieves release their debut EP, 'Greetings From Levy Park' featuring a blend of indie and pop-punk that sounded like it was recorded in someones bedroom. Thankfully, their debut full-length 'Heartless Romantics' is better produced, more refined and overall more grown-up. However, that doesn't mean the three-piece has lost the urgency and grit their brand of rock is known for.

Tracks such as 'All The Sad Young Men' and 'Flood Lights' have the same indie cum pop-punk energy that bands like Gaslight Anthem are known for. 'Flood Lights' is an especially catchy song, helped along by the confident whiskey-soaked vocals of Jeremy Barnes, not to mention the swirling guitar riffs, leading to a big finish. 'Pioneer Repair' begins as an understated track, but soon builds the pace back up. With brilliant lyrics and raw, passionate vocals, this is one of the more edgy tracks on the album. But quite frankly I love it.

Slowing the pace right down with 'The Ballard Of The Auluminum Girl', Only Thieves prove that they don't need constant the punk influenced energy to make good music. Having said that, title track 'Heartless Romantics' follows with the same slow pace but with a more melancholy sound, which comes pretty close to being boring. Featuring a dulcet piano and a voicemail message, this track is disappointing compared to the rest of the album. Only Thieves have tried to create a delicate song which construes heartbreak and pain, but actually it's just dull.

'Unsatisfied' is by far the most catchy song on the album. Crashing drums and screeching guitar hooks accompany the vocals beautifully. This track has hints of Bloc Party mixed with Interpol with plenty of jagged edges to boot. Wrapping up the album with 'What's Wrong', Only Thieves have picked a great song to end on. It's more pop than anything else but it still has the same confident sound as the rest of the album, and the same big finish.

'Heartless Romantics' is one of those albums I can't quite make up my mind about. When it's good it's great, but when it's bad it's just dire. Fortunately there are some very good tracks on the album, which just about outweigh the poorer moments. Only Thieves have created an energetic, catchy, indie-punk record and with this much potential, the next album will be truly stunning.


'Heartless Romantics' by Only Thieves is available now

Only Thieves on MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.

Blaise Ruston

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