For the person longing to find a marriage between expressive punk and dreamy pop, look no further than what’s going on by Sean Nisbet-Jones’ fridge. That’s right, the vocalist of this enlightened group Beautiful Thieves. Inspired by a former band’s long term close, Nisbet-Jones and drummer Jeff Kolodychuk took to a humble studio and crafted the sounds they wanted to make all along on their EP Time to Leave.
“Undone” starts the ball rolling with a stately and looming piano melody anchored by heavy-hearted downbeats and rattling registers far left of middle C. The guitars swell along with the vocals, taking small steps before leaping into the chorus. A solid punch bass drum acts as a pulse pattern, intermittently appearing throughout the song.
The centerpiece of this group’s sound is clearly apparent from the first chord of “Familiar Scene.” What a solid balance of 80s movie punk and early 2000s alternative! It has a waxy sheen of retro intention, but the chorus hits with modern attack.
I found the most pleasure in the charming and ear-piquing riff that brings you into “In My Arms.” This is a strong line and takes on so much character when the falsetto cooing of the vocals sweetly enter the mix. It was unfortunate that this motif never returned. The verses bring with them much more edge and a cutting guitar breaks things up, while the chorus sways with descending toms and quick guitar noodling. All of this before a solid half time sequence.
“Breathe” and “Time to Leave” hit at the adolescence of a place anyone under 30 knows too well. The vocals feel very honest; nothing is forced or dressed up. “Let’s Hit the Road Back” is a clever and fitting line to throw in the face of just another cliché notion for adventure.
Time To Leave is an easily swallowed sugar pill that has a couple adverse side effects, but nothing that five tracks aren’t expected to taste like. It’s sweet, it’s sour - it’s different. Beautiful Thieves take risks and deliver every song in earnest fashion.
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