At heart I’m definitely somebody who appreciates multi-media and consequently do like it when music is packaged in physical formats. Designing CD inserts requires different graphic design skills compared to twelve inch vinyl gatefold sleeves, but can produce equally effective results. The cover of this item is rather enigmatic – the front is devoted entirely to a single photograph of a bench in front of some trees, an image that is replicated on the disc itself. The track listing on the rear is very plain indeed with simple black text on a white background listing song titles in lower case without numbers. No hint at all about the relevance to neither band name, Streetlight Manifesto, nor album title, ‘The Hands That Thieve’.

Packaging aside, the music simply bursts out of the speakers with incredible energy. As a ska/punk band from New Jersey every track bristles with interest. Like other exponents of the genre, there is an overarching sense of manic, barely contained chaos – I saw something very similar when I was privileged to catch a brief live performance by Scottish ska/punk band Bombskare and imagine that a live set by Streetlight Manifesto would be absolutely riveting. On second thoughts, rivets are used to rigidly fix things in position – I don’t imagine that many in the audience would actually be able to resist movement when faced with this aural onslaught!

So often I find myself listening to music that is guitar and drum based, this provides a break from the routine with the lead being provided by saxophones, trumpet and trombone. Perhaps it’s my age, but I have to say that much as I enjoyed listening to this I did find it’s relentless high energy to be a bit much and imagine that in future my listening will be mainly restricted to individual tracks interspersed with other slower pieces. On the other hand I do believe that the experience of a live set would be an absolute blast!

Chris Thatcher – drums: Jim Conti – tenor & alto sax, vocals: Matt Stewart – trumpet: Nadav Nirenberg – trombone: Pete McCullough – bass, vocals: Tomas Kalnoky – vocals, guitar

1/ The Three Of Us

2/ Ungrateful

3/ The Littlest Things

4/ The Hands That Thieve

5/ With Any Sort Of Certainty

6/ If Only For Memories

7/ They Broke Him Down

8/ Toe To Toe

9/ Oh Me, Oh My

10/ Your Day Will Come

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