By: Jessica Spottek
RIYL: Royal Blood, Sam Fender, Cleopatrick, Sundara Karma
Nothing But Thieves takes a new look at their Alternative Rock sound by using electronic and pop-influenced undertones. If 2020 couldn’t be a mess, I believe that this album couldn’t have been possible. Top to bottom, “Moral Panic” tells a story about the struggles in the world from following social norms to relationships and more. NBT’s newest release might be one of the best albums of 2020.
If you know me and are familiar with my music taste, you would know that there is no doubt in my mind that Nothing But Thieves is my absolute favorite band of all time. My muse. My afflatus. You wouldn’t recognize or know the band until I’ve fully introduced them to you. I have probably sat you down and told you what their music means to me. Then I probably made you go home and listen to their discography. I have never felt so connected and moved by a band before NBT. But let’s get into the basics.
Born 2012 in Essex, England, Nothing But Thieves pairs its driving rock sound with lyrics from the heart and a sound that is like no other. The five-piece group released their self-titled album in October of 2015. I discovered the band when I heard their hit track, “Trip Switch”, on Alt Nation in my dad’s car. This might be one of the rare moments where I wasn’t in front of the rave of one of my favorite bands! Anyways, this track wasn’t something that I’ve heard before. It felt like a hipster Metro Station from 2008 that wanted to put out a rebellious but awesome song. “Trip Switch” was then found on US Billboard’s Rock Airplay, landing a peak #1 spot, a year later. “Nothing But Thieves” encompasses the band’s full, various sounds with fast and slow tracks, both hard alternative rock and passionate love songs. One of the best, if not THE best, aspects of NBT is their vocalist, Conor Mason. Some of the best singers and vocalists come from all parts of the world, but Mason has lungs like no other. I continue to be in awe of his vibrato every time I listen to any track. Fans alike, I believe Conor Mason is one of the best vocalists in the world.
Two years later, the band released “Broken Machine” where it hit Top Rock Albums across the country, including #2 in the UK. NBT experimented with a more open and honest conversation in their lyrics. Many fans became more connected to their music with their top tracks, “Amsterdam”, “Sorry”, and “Particles”. I would be lying if I told you that I wasn’t blown away with their second studio album. NBT quickly came out with an EP called “What Did You Think When You Made Me This Way?”.
I was given the opportunity to travel to Kansas City for my first Nothing But Thieves show. At the time, Grandson opened for them (and little did I know that “Blood // Water” would be used in every epic part in every teenage TV series). The night was a blur, but I remember crying for almost every other song. Their show took me to another place that I never knew was possible; a place that I felt like 100% myself.
“Unperson”, the opening track, wakes you and makes you listen clearly. Similar to “I Was Just a Kid” on their album, “Broken Machine”, a fast-paced opener intrigues the audience into an album that will definitely be good right off the bat. I believe “IGOR’S THEME” on Tyler’s album is the best opening track by far, but this could be towards the top as well. I really like when NBT has the guitar-driven tracks not just because of my music taste, but of the skill and musicality of their sound. NBT dropped a few advanced tracks which I was surprised about, a lot more than I expected. This includes “Is Everybody Going Crazy?” which is one of the more popular hits on the album. I’ve never heard a beat or chord progression like this before, so it was interesting to listen to at first. I even got my younger brother addicted to the song! To make it even more interesting, this track uses vertical angles to create a very unique music video as well.
I think what really draws people into this album is this mysterious impression that NBT gives to lure you into listening to the songs. I always was wanting more or to find an answer to their troublesome lyrics. The band writes about the world and the people in it are going insane because sometimes, there isn’t a hard answer to every problem. “This Feels Like The End” track represents this idea extremely by telling you that everyone is stunned by the news and worsening society; you feel as if this might be the apocalypse and that people might be turning into their evil selves. After this horrible year, I felt that this track really put me into perspective about how NBT wants their listeners to engage in the lyrics and their music. And their slower tracks? Always refreshing to hear Conor Mason’s vocals with a whispering echo in the background.
Overall, I am obsessed with Nothing But Thieves’ “Moral Panic”. It encompasses how life can be overwhelming at times and how we examine the world from our own eyes. I believe many fans around the world felt a certain connection to past albums. However, everyone can relate to this release. They say that music can sometimes fill the missing words and feelings that you couldn’t think of before and “Moral Panic” does this clean and pristine. I give this album a 9/10 for musicality, quality, production, social impact, and many more aspects. Take a listen!