Streetlight Manifesto Ė The Hands That Thieve
Record Label: Victory Records
Release Date: April 30th 2013
Over the last few months, Iíve been listening to a lot of bands and artists that I never thought I would, including Daft Punk, Darius Rucker, Lamb of God, and the list goes on. As a music fan, I like to give things Iím not accustomed to a chance, because Iíll never know if Iíll enjoy it or not. Well, another band that I added to the list was New Jersey ska-punk band Streetlight Manifesto. Iíve heard of them for a long time, and saw their new record The Hands That Thieve in stores when it was released in April, but I never thought much of it. Well, I didnít have too much on my list for this week to listen to, so I figured Iíd pick up a copy of the record, because Iíve been interested in checking it out. Needless to say, I was quite impressed with what I found. Iíve never been too into ska-punk, but Iíve never hated it, either. It was never was something I was interested in, but Iíve seen copies of the new Streetlight Manifesto record for awhile, and Iíve been interested in it. I do make exceptions, and this is a band thatís been on my radar. Yes, I do have a musical radar, but I was always after other things, but I had some money to spend, so I figured Iíd buy a copy of this, since I had the chance. Needless to say, I was quite impressed with it. Granted, I donít think this record will make me interested in ska-punk, but for what it is, itís really enjoyable. Itís energetic, fun, but still meaningful and unique. Thatís a nice balance for a record to have, but letís take a look at it, and see what makes it so enjoyable.
The record starts with ďThe Three of Us,Ē and immediately, Iím sucked into their brand of ska-punk, with vocalist Tomas Kalnoky introducing us to his voice for a few seconds, and the rest of the band playing a random instrumental for the next 30 Ė 40 seconds. While itís kind of cool, the record is full of these random little instrumentals, and they kind of bug me, because they distract from the record. It makes the record a lot longer than it needs to be. Itís not that the instrumentation is bad, because itís really enjoyable, but it gets rather derivative. In every song, thereís something like that. Thereís only one thatís less than four minutes. Every other song has a lengthy instrumental that kind of gets the way in the actual record. I guess thatís what separates them from other punk bands, because theyíre a bit more ďexperimental,Ē in the sense theyíre not so simplistic, but it does drag on a bit. Thatís the main problem I have with this record, right off the bat. Kalnokyís vocals are also kind of standard for the genre, and even then, theyíre bad. Theyíre just nothing really special, either. Regardless, this first song is memorable, and so is most of the record. Itís just that almost all of the songs sound quite similar to one another, so while the instrumentation is interesting, it all can blend together after awhile. Being the record is 50 minutes, it does get rather derivative. A few songs stand out, such as the first track, which introduces the listener to this record, and it does its job nicely as an intro. The title track also stands out nicely, too; itís a quieter, more melodic track, but itís light on the instrumentals and is more to the point.
The whole record is enjoyable to listen to, especially if youíre really into ska-punk, but for someone like myself, whoís really never listened to it much, it does get rather derivative after awhile. Itís fun, itís light-hearted, but overall, it just drags on a bit. A few songs stand out, but there are a lot of really unnecessary or long instrumentals that tend to drag on for awhile. Thatís ultimately a nitpick, but regardless, I did enjoy a lot about it. Itís just I didnít really get into this record as much as I thought I would, but itís still great for what it is.