Streetlight Manifesto
The Hands That Thieve


4.2
excellent

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
April 30th, 2013 | 582 replies


Release Date: 04/30/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “I felt no pain ‘till I was down and I was told that I was bleeding. And even then I knew I wasn’t done”

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to put pen to paper with music criticism without falling into derivative tropes. It seems like a recurring theme in modern music criticism is that a band or artist needs to continuously reinvent themselves to remain “relevant” or to receive praise. Look around and you’ll find complaints of “retreading” or “staying the same” in lieu of actual, you know, critical thought. Were this not enough, to progress too much is to be lambasted for exploring too far outside an established sound. Unintuitive, yes, making it damn near impossible for musicians to do, well, anything without getting flack. With this in mind, The Hands That Thieve becomes even more an impressive and admirable feat. Streetlight Manifesto, as always, appear to not give a *** as they opt to do their own thing without any regard towards what people think. Yes, The Hands That Thieve is in essence a rinse and repeat of everything the band has ever done. And frankly, thank God for that.

Streetlight Manifesto are the de facto ska poster children, generally popping up whenever people begin to describe the inane differences between the various “waves” of the genre. But it speaks a lot about the band’s influence and legacy that they’ve remained such a powerful force, despite extended breaks between releases. Perhaps it is because the band has always been so incredibly accessible, that nearly anyone can become hooked. Even those with a disdain for all forms of punk can become engrossed in the palpable energy and incredibly fun vibes that the band gives off. The Hands That Thieve is the perfect representation of this; a thoroughly enjoyable romp with surprising depth that is everything to love about Streetlight Manifesto.

As stated, the band’s third outing is very much similar to their previous opus’ Everything Went Numb and Somewhere in the Between. Keeping with tradition, each second is stuffed with clamoring horns, woodwinds, and guitar. It sounds enormous at every turn thanks in part to a production that ties everything together perfectly. The pace is blistering and explosive, with Streetlight Manifesto never sounding so good. This goes a long way in helping make each selection shine. Lyrically, The Hands That Thieve is rather surprising, standing as one of the most mature and intricately written works of the band's career. While always delightful, Streetlight tackle some lofty subjects here with fervor, all while seemingly incredibly genuine. But what Streetlight really excel at here, as they have in the past, is crafting the sublime melodies that permeate every song. I remember the very moment I heard the insanely catchy chorus in “With Any Sort of Certainty” for the first time. There was a feeling about it that made me want to clamor along with it, despite not yet knowing the words. It’s a strange feeling, being so familiar with something so new, yet wanting so badly to become better acquainted with it. This is where The Hands That Thieve gets its staying power.

It’s so predictable, really, that Streetlight Manifesto arise from the ashes after six years only to release yet another modern masterpiece. But that’s what we get with The Hands That Thieve. It’s so perfectly and lovingly written and produced, recalling everything that made you fall in love with the band and their life affirming sound to begin with.



Recent reviews by this author
Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) You Will Eventually Be ForgottenSaintseneca Dark Arc
Have a Nice Life The Unnatural WorldThee Silver Mount Zion Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything
Fell Voices Regnum SaturniHammock Oblivion Hymns
user ratings (498)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Aaron Arneson CONTRIBUTOR (4)
Well worth the wait. "The Hands That Thieve" is familiar enough to fit in comfortably with the band...

Nathan Flynn CONTRIBUTOR (3)
A moment of silence please...

Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF (5)
What happens when an extraordinary amount of time provided to make an album isn't wasted....

El Hombre de los Arboles (5)
The hype train has officially pulled into the station…...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
April 30th 2013


10594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

My impending graduation has made this a tad late but here it is : D

demigod!
April 30th 2013


44352 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

great review, i agree with it almost entirely.

Oh Me, Oh My is probably my favourite song on here so far. it's magical.

Digging: Portishead - Dummy

Kman418
April 30th 2013


10464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

album destroys

Digging: AIDS Wolf - Cities of Glass

Xenophanes
Emeritus
April 30th 2013


10594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

"Oh Me, Oh My" is a surprising second favorite for me. The intro and title track rule as well.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 30th 2013


19745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think in first paragraph you're missing the word "a" before those asterisks. ;)

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

demigod!
April 30th 2013


44352 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

this is really growing on me. I feel like i just started the album and it's already nearly over - just flew by. might bump it in the near future, just gotta give it a few more listens.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
April 30th 2013


10594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

I feel like I should be able to say "shit" in a review. We're all adults here.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 30th 2013


19745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review by the way

demigod!
April 30th 2013


44352 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

don't really like how this ends so abruptly - would've loved a finale in the same vein as "1234" or "the big sleep".

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
April 30th 2013


6448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Third paragraph needs a proof read, Eli:

The pace is blistering with explosive Streetlight Manifesto have never sounded this good

?

standing as one of the most mature and intricately written of the band's career.

I think you're missing a word here.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

ProjectFreak
April 30th 2013


1345 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^

however, this is a great review, even if I think this album is quite different from their last two. Gonna have to keep listening to it before I give a rating but I'm glad they're not dead.

Kris.
April 30th 2013


12345 Comments


would pos if i could, supr review eli

title track is quickly becoming my favorite SM song

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2013


10196 Comments


Dat hype train!

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

ShadowRemains
April 30th 2013


20700 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I will never defend the men who make amends with any enemies friends

I will never preteennnndddddd

Digging: Banks - Goddess

demigod!
April 30th 2013


44352 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

this does actually feel a fair bit different from SitB, the more i listen to it the more i pick up on small details that set it apart. it feels a bit more influenced by different styles of world music from around the globe, which i know is something Tom is big on. especially on Oh Me, Oh My, the title track, They Broke Him Down (which shouldn't be as great as it is considering how repetetive it is) and Toe to Toe.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
April 30th 2013


10594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

This album is full of lines that make me want to yell them

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2013


4424 Comments


Downloading this now. I've never heard any of their albums, but will definitely jam them this week.

Good work as always Eli. Also, didn't the mods tweak the formatting so that staff/contribs are allowed to use profanity in reviews? I could have sworn I saw Willie or mx talking about that. Or am I wrong on that?

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 30th 2013


19745 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@demi, SO true. I love the hispanic influences on 'If only for the memories.'

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
April 30th 2013


6448 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The pace is blistering and explosive, with Streetlight Manifesto never sounding so good. This goes a long way in helping make each selection shine.

- ... with Streetlight never having sounded as good, perhaps?
- This goes a long way in helping to make each selection shine.

This is good review though, and I'm nitpicking. But it does read a bit sloppier than your other reviews, I think.

Mike08
April 30th 2013


607 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This appropriately titled album is a perfect allegory for Victory Records. Congrats SM, this is your best work yet!




You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy