Thieves Like Us
There are few genres that evoke such a strong connection with urban settings as post-punk -- from decaying factories and warehouses of Manchester to New York City streets littered with cigarette butts and shadows cast by streetlights and neon signs. While post-punk's claim of the metropolitan landscape has slipped in recent years with the rising popularity of remixes and the increasing prevalence of electronic music, Thieves Like Us have crafted a dark, creeping record that contains very few organic elements, evoking a strange marriage of Wire's "154" and the minimalist production existent throughout the Junior Boys' catalogue. In the near-absence of guitars, Thieves Like Us employ synthesizers and pads to create the atmosphere of "Play music" -- a menacingly ethereal tone on tracks like "An easy tonight" and "Program of the first part"; a dancehall-ready minimalism on "Drugs in my body" and "Miss you"; and a driving, mutedly violent desperation on "Your heart feels", the stand-out track on the album. Where Cut City's brand of post-punk oscillates between the atmospheric and the all-too-present, Thieves Like Us deconstruct pop songs, warping them into skulking, introspective shadows existing somewhere between the likes of Cut Copy and Gang of Four. The seductiveness of an album like "Play music" is in the strength of its skeletal nature, in the unvarnished and austere compositions, and in the breadth of emotion explored within this unembellished format -- all of which Thieves Like Us succeed and excel at.
- Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson