Streetlight Manifesto had let me down with their previous release “99 songs of the revolution” which was a compilation of covers that at most seemed forced. To put it lightly I wasn’t very impressed.. so when I heard about the release of “The Hands That Thieve“, a full length original album which was supposed to be released April 30th, I hoped for the best and placed my pre-order at the RISC store. Complications with Victory records (full story here) delayed my copy of the album for what seems to be indefinitely. In a Q and A posted on the bands website the artists indirectly gave everyone who bought the pe-order permission to use torrent sites to get hold of the album! “Q: The Streetlight record leaked online – I already ordered it through you – how should I feel inside about downloading it?
A: We can’t tell you how or where to download it – but if you already paid for it, and it’s being withheld from you by the band’s own record label – well, take that how you will.”
Once we get past the irony of an album called “The Hands that Thieve” basically being stolen by the recording conglomerate supposed to be supplying it we can get on to the music.
The album starts out with true Streetlight fanfare. In your face horns hit hard and fast in the opening song “The Three of Us” and it is evident that Streetlight is back with vengeance! As in previous albums the set is comprised of energetic staccato songs as well as a fair share of slower tempo arrangements with lovely legato horn lines. The album flows great throughout and there is never a dull moment. What intrigues me the most about Streetlight Manifesto is their originality. Not only within the Ska Punk genre but also within their own discography.
Every album released by this band has a sense of evolution. The transition in this album is towards a heavy metal style mixed with a Mexican mariachi feel in some songs. The pairing results in a original and entertaining album that will soon have all of its horn lines and lyrics running through my head. Speaking of lyrics the vocals in this album have so much drive! They have added to their conventional call and response style with an extra large chorus which makes singing along in the car even more fun (which is pretty much the main use for all of their albums)
If you are a ska fan you will love this album and if you are an avid Streetlight fan it will definitely not disappoint! That is if you can procure a copy….