Though arguably not the most instant of captivations, The Medals Aren’t Mine the latest EP from UK alternative/punk band Threepenny Thieves, emerges as one of the more intriguing and refreshes releases this year. It is a collection of songs which rile up and challenge whilst offering a boisterous feast of wickedness to enflame mischievous urges. It is raw and instinctive rock n roll which with an abrasive touch lights up senses and thoughts. It is honest and in the face, just as good punk rock should be, and fuses it with stirring alternative rock sounds to make each track a unique and unpredictable experience.
Threepenny Thieves, with a name inspired by the musical The Threepenny Opera, was formed in February 2011 as a three piece by guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Mortie Pockett, who brought in long time friend Jake ‘Dreads’ McLewee on bass and drummer Nick Gray, who he met on his university course. The first year saw the band gigging and recording their debut EP Months, and notably the addition of Mikey Digby as second and lead guitar. The South England based quartet according to their bio makes music which is best described as ‘Biffy Clyro teaming up with The Cribs and fighting Two Door Cinema Club’. To be honest they are not the bands which spring immediately to mind listening to the EP but it certainly indicates the eclectic and diverse sound the band conjures up.
The release opens with Let’s Never Play Acoustic Again and immediately has attention firmly in its direction. The song takes mere seconds for its guitars to flare up with tight sonic play whilst the vocals of Pockett delight as they squeal and sing with a distinct expressive style. Though not openly infectious, the song has a tight grip on the ear with its thumping rhythms, energetically charged riffs, and guitar invention, whilst the vocals taunt with a caustic but appealing attitude. As this and the following Frozen Garage Joe chew and tease the senses, the sounds playing with their safety offer a mix of Reuben, ThisCity, and most of all My Red Cell. It is an absorbing and inspiring blend which once it has a connection thrills at every turn.
Frozen Garage Joe surpasses the opener almost with its first sonic breath. The sense of something special coming is instant and once the discordance kicks in from the guitars, the immediate storm of dirty sounds and wicked intent is irresistible. Mid way in the song finds a stoner vein to heat and fire up the already riotous air of the song to make for a contagious and thrilling climax. The song especially as it makes its final crescendo, is very much like the aforementioned My Red Cell with Pockett having the same acidic and excited crusade of vocal harmonics which makes Russell Toomey from the other band so mesmeric.
Third song Genevieve is a slowly enveloping emotive ballad which taken on its own is an honest and strong piece of passion, but within the manic and bedlamic presences of other songs does initially feel an uneasy fit. It reveals another aspect to the sound and songwriting of the band though which with its closing climactic heart, ensures the song makes for an impressive selection even if it lacks the appeal of other songs.
Fighting Talk is a punk rock fury to again turn the listener into a breathless incited bundle of agitated enthusiasm, its attitude drenched challenge sparking only excited reactions. The track is a punchy taunt with an energy which is steely without having the aggressive and violent intensity to back it up, the sounds reflecting the great lyrical humour and tale.
Will Threepenny Thieves and The Medals Aren’t Mine be for everyone…it is unlikely as most inventive and boundary ignoring bands find a resistance to their imagination but if something different, well crafted, and individual is to your taste than this is a must investigate. Completed by a further three radio edits of its songs and a free download at the following http://soundcloud.com/threepenny_thieves/sets/the-medals-arent-mine there really is no excuse not to take some intensive time with the EP.
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