Nothing But Thieves have popped up on my radar recently. Originating from Southend, Essex, this song, Graveyard Whistling, is from an EP of the same name and has me very interested in what these schoolmates are up to.
The first thing to hit me were the vocals of Conor Mason. This kid can sing. I’d put him in the league of Thom Yorke, Chet Faker, Erik Hassle, even Jeff Buckley. I don’t know how old he is – he barely looks out of his mid-teens – but he’s got a serious gift.
The band lists Buckley as a heavy influence. You can certainly hear that in this track, but what I like about it is that it’s not just a straight up, alt-rock song. It’s produced beautifully, with thought, allowing the song to build wonderfully to its ultimate crescendo. Lyrically, it’s interesting, too, which is not something you can often say about young bands. Tackling the futility of religion is a challenging sandpit to play in, but a line as simple as “if you don’t believe, it can’t hurt you” proves these guys are not afraid of questioning the world and all that lies within it.
Mason’s voice is stunning, perhaps Buckley reborn? His falsetto in particular is spine-chilling.
Here is another track demonstrating these kids’ ability to craft a cracking tune. This is Emergency, which was from another EP, If You Don’t Believe, It Can’t Hurt You, released in October last year. Recognise that line?
I’m looking forward to hearing more from these guys, and with an album in the works, it looks like we will later this year.