Tuesday, December 1, 2009

review: Greetings From Levy Park, T.L.H Only Thieves

Only Thieves
Greetings From Levy Park, T.L.H
Self-released, 2009

<a href="http://onlythieves.bandcamp.com/track/hammered-for-the-holidays">Hammered for the Holidays by Only Thieves</a>

There's something instantly likable about Only Thieves--a je ne sais quoi that makes them instantly memorable. Can't put my finger on it. On the tip of my tongue. That same quality that made Hey Mercedes, Nada Surf and The Promise Ring bands to admire. An unimpeachable optimism that shines through even when singing about horrible badness. An ability to transmit bounciness while sitting still. Don't know what it is---the charisma, the ineffable "knack"--but Only Thieves has it.

It's appropriate to review this EP this time of the year, the first song is titled "Hammered for the Holidays," a tongue-in-cheek song about a treacherous drunken trip down the interstate and late for Christmas. This is a punk band in the loosest sense, a crowded bar rock band-type that is capable of playing the hits while making their own shine through. "Hammered" will be added to the canon of ironic holiday songs, the tradition laid by "Grandma Got Ran Over By Reindeer" and that Adam Sandler has maximized.

The third song, "Watertower Scars" is perfectly suburban, perfectly real and again perfectly bouncy, making rock better for being pop. "Ghosts In Your Bedroom" and "I Got Left Behind" kind of makes me want to clap or at least slap someone repeatedly on the back--the repetitive intros sets the pacing up perfect for making the chorus stick so well, two simple numbers done well.

All of this is wrapped nicely by "Does This Bus Stop at 8th Avenue?" an inquiring screed about familial love transmitted through transportation. Again with The Promise Ring, it's something right off of Nothing Feels Good and there's nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all, though the Thieves tone their distortion down. A solid 5-song EP that I've already returned to repeatedly. Only Thieves will be stealing our joy if they don't have a full-length hit soon.

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