Album Review
Thieves and Villains - South America Album Cover

Thieves and Villains - South America

Reviewed by
Thieves and Villains - South America
Record Label: Victory Records
Release Date: August 3rd, 2010
If you remember who this band is, then you might recall the album review AbsolutePunk staffer, Tony Pascarella did on their first album Movement. Tony had mentioned in the review that Thieves and Villains lacked several things, such as substance and ambition. Hell, he even said frontman Sergio Otaegui's vocals were lifeless throughout the album. The band's new sophomore effort South America was just released and you might be wondering if the new album is anything like Movement. Honestly, it's almost completely different. Thieves and Villains have evolved into a radiant butterfly and have spread their wings to display it's new look (well, sound in this case). Forget what you thought you knew about this band, go ahead and take a trip to South America , enjoy the ride and all it's nice surprises it has in store for you.

Everything about Thieves and Villains is bigger and better now, a lot better. Sergio Otaegui has certainly breathed life into his voice now, adding more drive and heart into it. That goes for the entire band as a matter of fact. Musically, there are several songs that sound similar to Vampire Weekend (yes, Vampire Weekend), such as the incredibly catchy ''Virgina Woolf'' and ''Central Park.'' They also channel early Weezer in a few as well, most recognizably in ''The Aesthetic Life Is the Life For Me'' and ''Island Waterfall Blues,'' two great tunes to just let loose to and make the best of your free time with.

Album opener ''16 Hits'' sets the tone for the record, starting off slow with strumming guitars before building up with the whole band eventually joining in, while Otaegui's impressive vocals soar gracefully throughout the song. Other standout tracks include: ''I Want A Friend Like You'' and ''Drunk In Amsterdam.'' The beginning of ''I Want A Friend Like You'' sounds like it could be a song off of a cheesy family movie soundtrack with it's goofy guitar riffs and opening lyrics. Don't be fooled though, with a line like ''Sluts, clubs, and bars,'' you won't be hearing this song in the next Air Bud sequel, instead it will make a good soundtrack to a night out on the town with your best friends painting it red. The pop punk sounding ''Drunk In Amsterdam'' will get you dancing in your computer chair or bed, wherever you prefer surfing the web. The chorus will have you singing along at the top of your lungs as you embrace those sweet guitar riffs during the song's chorus.

One of the catchiest songs I've heard in a long time is ''Youth,'' which could very well be the best tune on South America. Otaegui displays some more of his impressive vocals in the song, proving he has the pipes and range to make chills go running down your spine. Also, if you are a Saves the Day fan, you might hear a resemblance to Chris Conley, with the way Otaegui sings the oh's on the track's chorus. The beautiful sounding album closer ''South St. Hymnal.'' is a soft acoustic song with ace singing by another one of the member's of the band, I'm assuming Chris Pennings. It's the perfect slow jam to play under the stars while sitting next to a campfire/bonfire as your buddies toast some tasty marshmellows and reminisce about the good old times.

Thieves and Villains aren't the same band they were on Movement, they wanted to show everyone that they are infact the real deal and with South America they are doing just that. It's not a flawless album, but they found that potential within and let it all out onto South America. It's just like those stories you hear about underdogs, you don't think they are capable of achieving what they hope to do, but in the end they surprise everyone and gain the respect they deserve. Movement is the failed attempt, and South America is the success story.

Recommended If You LikeThe sounds of Vampire Weekend and Weezer, AJ Perdomo-esuqe vocals, fun indie pop-rock

1. 16 Hits
2. Song For Dean Moriarty
3. Virginia Woolf
4. I Want A Friend Like You
5. Drunk In Amsterdamn
6. Island Waterfall Blues
7. Youth
8. Central Park
9. Some May Call It Rain
10. The Aesthetic Life Is the Life for Me
11. American Boy
12. South America
13. South St. Hymnal

This review is a user submitted review from aradiantsunrise. You can see all of aradiantsunrise's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 13 of 13
04:19 PM on 08/21/10
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vivatoto56's Avatar
Awesome review. I love this album.

Last weekend I took a 14 hour road trip and I think I played Drunk In Amsterdam about 6 times.

Funny enough I enjoyed Movement and remember that review. I was always saddened by it.
04:34 PM on 08/21/10
Registered User
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rush2112XD's Avatar
I'm reviewing this one for ReviewRinseRepeat. I like it quite a bit.
09:20 PM on 08/21/10
"Look mom, no hands!"
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Miketheunicycle's Avatar
great album, nice review. 82 is a very accurate rating
06:31 PM on 08/22/10
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birtcho's Avatar
Maybe I can like this then...
09:50 AM on 08/23/10
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rob_mylo's Avatar
I always enjoyed movement. still listen to it while driving.
but yes, South America is so damn good.
10:31 AM on 08/23/10
Regular Member
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rocketcat's Avatar
this new album is so f*ing great.
instant classic. (at least for me).
09:18 PM on 08/24/10
that's ridiculous
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theMATEOlife's Avatar
nice honest dudes playing nice honest music. thoroughly enjoying the new record.
05:24 PM on 08/25/10
jess' man
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jess' man's Avatar
i love the way he sings "lingering back to town" ........... that whole song rules.
i recently skimmed an ap magazine (didnt buy it) and i remember being upset at their review for this album. they mentioned that the vocals do not mix well with the guitars or something. i disagree. the only part i dont like is the first 10 seconds of "virgina woolf" , where the vocals smack your ears in the face. Good review
09:30 AM on 08/28/10
Registered User
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Theow593's Avatar
Wow, didn't realize this was the Always Rushing By vocalist.
02:40 PM on 09/07/10
No Retreat, No Regrets.
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Goat01's Avatar
Drunk in Amsterdam is a killer track, the whole album is extremely good.
I was a huge fan of the last record too, it was rough to see it get trashed.
Good to see they got a better review this time, love this band.
05:36 PM on 12/11/10
Regular Member
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BaysideFan88's Avatar
I have heard many mixed reviews about this album. But I loved "Movement", so I will have to pick it up some time.
01:49 PM on 05/28/12
I won't intentionally leave.
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cut!print's Avatar
One of my favorite albums, I love Sergio's voice and his lyrics speak so much truth.

AJ Perdomo is literally my favorite vocalist, but I really don't understand your comparison here. Sergio hits a lot higher than AJ can and the style is completely different. Maybe the delivery is a little similar? I don't know. Either way, great review and it's good to see this band actual get some praise because I've been a fan since Sergio used to be in this band called Always Rushing By.

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