Spin #18 : Nothing But Thieves : Moral Panic
Band Members : Conor Mason (Vocals), Joe Langridge-Brown (Guitar), Philip Blake (Bass), Dominic Craik (Guitar, production lead) and James Price (Drums)
Nothing But Thieves : Moral Panic Year Released : 2020 Produced by Dominic Craik and Mike Crossey Label: Sony Price Range: $50 AUD + Speed: 33 1/3 RPM Album Before : Broken Machine (2017) Album After : Moral Panic : The Complete Edition (2022) - Combination of this album and 5 song release 'Moral Panic II' Further Listening : What Did You Think When You Made Me This Way? EP - Nothing But Thieves (2018) LP : 1 x Black LP Mood for enjoying: I guess it depends on time and current mood that you are in when you listen to this one. I agree that the topic is quite bleak on this album but it can also be a very reflective and thought provoking album too. Sometimes internal reflection can result in growth and self-improvement. Track Listing:
LP Side A
Unperson - 3:24
Is Everybody Going Crazy? - 3:57
Moral Panic - 3:40
Real Love Song - 3:42
Phobia - 4:04
Side B This Feels Like The End - 4:02
Free If We Want It - 3:52
Impossible - 4:08
There Was Sun - 4:03
Can You Afford To Be An Individual? - 3:56
Before We Drift Away - 4:14
What's in the Sleeve ? 1 x black LP with lyrics on the paper record slip.
"We're getting sick of your doublethink. We see you all and now the walls are caving in. And maybe I'm flawed, but I do exist. My thoughts are mine, I didn't sign up for this" ~ Unperson - Side A
Welcome to Spin #18 - Nothing But Thieves : Moral Panic
See I told you that this week I wouldn't be spinning another soul record and you all didn't believe me. Hopefully you all had some fun guessing the record and were able to get it. This week I've selected the third studio album 'Moral Panic' from the British band, 'Nothing But Thieves'. I have to send out a thank you to my friend Dr Jazz who introduced me to this band with their previous efforts of 'Self-titled' and 'Broken Machine'.
Lately, I have been really enjoying the Sennheiser headphones through the loungeroom set-up, because I have been reviewing later and later at night. I try and pick a few moments to show the children our weekly spins but find myself sitting down at a later time to really get stuck into the review. I know our son loves the sound of this one and he has a habit of running around the coffee table in our loungeroom saying, "I'm too fast" and "Sonic".
Make sure you get yourself comfortable for this one and pour yourself a stiff drink (if you're old enough that is). If you are lucky enough to have this record in your collection already then put it on as you read long with us.
Drop the Needle (of course means place the stylus nicely on your wax):
The house is eerily quiet and no one else is awake whilst spinning this week's record, 'Moral Panic'. Even when you are trying to be quiet, you find yourself making more noise - let me explain. In order to keep the records safe and protected, to an extent from the children, I've had to install a padlock and latch on the front of the cube storage. This means that I need to have keys in order to unlock that storage and trying to keep the jingle of keys quiet in a house where everyone is asleep is impossible. Luckily we have carpet, because I dropped the keys once and got away without making too much noise or waking anyone up.
So now I have opened up the storage and selected this week's Spin #18 to place on the Sherwood turntable in our loungeroom (or lounginn as our son calls it). I have to make sure that the headphones are selected and plugged in before pressing start and dropping the stylus on the wax. With 'Moral Panic' I decided to just purchase it without previewing any songs or reading too much up on the theme - due to the fact I enjoyed the album before so much.
The only things I know about the band would be:
1. They apparently got the name of the band from a French philosopher's quote, "don't be impressionable, your religious leaders are nothing but mega thieves".
2. They have played on Triple J's 'Like a Version' segment where they covered Australian band, 'Gang Of Youths'. Check it out here.
The first track is called 'Unperson' which actually means " an individual who usually for political or ideological reasons is removed completely from recognition or consideration". The song starts off with some industrial sounds and drum beats before a partially electronic sounding Mason starts singing, "We lose all control of our senses, so slowly. Give them up until we're defenceless, so surely". I like the technique in this song where in parts Mason is sounding similar to Jack White from 'The White Stripes'. Check out the 'Unperson' music video here. I'm not sure if I have mentioned this before but I love to occasionally sit down and read a nice book in the sunshine, as It is another R'nR staple. When listening to this song and album so far, I am getting some Orwell vibes (1984, Animal Farm).
I like the album cover on 'Moral Panic' as the red and orange really stand out and would look great in a frame up on the wall. I don't have records up on my wall at the moment but have been looking at making a feature wall in the future that can be interchanged (inspiration from Dr. Jazz who has a nice arrangement above his record set up). The second song is called, 'Is Everybody Going Crazy?' and sometimes that is exactly how I feel when I ponder about the current state of the world. It starts off with a heaviness as the drums , bass and guitar build the bleak mood on this one before the stunningly good vocals of Mason come in. Damn this guy can sing! "You ever thought we're not ourselves? I know it well, I'm ready now to have a change of skin. The day doesn't set, the world just spins and in this wounded sinister place, We've only got each other". 'Nothing But Thieves' have picked up where their last album finished off and then some. I like the feeling you get from the guitars and bass as it sounds so dark and raw.
Next up is the title track, 'Moral Panic' which is a much softer song compared to the first two songs. "This is the last day of my life, yours too. Haven't you ever seen the ocean look so blue". It has such a great chorus that builds the mood and intense feelings as Mason just sings softly about how everyone is experiencing panic right now. The song has a breakdown and picks up the drum beat of Price which tries to lift your mood after the sombre start. Upon first listen, I really connected with this song and felt sad at first and then content - a real rollercoaster song if you can find something to relate with in it, like I did. The song fades out and rolls straight into the almost canon firing sounds at the beginning of, 'Real Love Song'.
I can't remember hearing an modern album for the first time and enjoying it so much as I have with 'Moral Panic'. It is full of powerful songs and 'Real Love Song' is a perfect example. A song used to remember the good and the bad - "I cried so hard I died sad, losing all that's making me human inside sad". Let me know in the comments below if so far you are feeling that this album is ticking all your boxes.
Last song on Side A and as the beat comes through my headphones, I can hear the vocals loud in my ears. Mason is almost having a spoken word moment and very reminiscent of a 'Billie Eilish' style. It also gives me a very 'Muse' sounding vibe with the heavy bass / distortion coming through so bloody clear. I got really into this song and I almost forgot to mention the name - it's called 'Phobia'. Another direction change musically comes in but at the same time remains instantly recognisable as a 'Nothing But Thieves' song. Just when you think this song has hit its peak.....another mountain is thrown at you. You can hear Mason has a more passionate sound compared to the slower almost spoken word start. "And I could use some healing soon, Before I lose all feeling soon". Big finish rolls into a western style sound of the guitars before rolling into the dead wax. I lift the tonearm and flip the LP as I am really excited about Side B.
Ok, now that I have flipped the LP over it's time for Side B. Make sure you have gone to the bathroom or grabbed a drink before I place the stylus down - It's ok, I will wait for you. 'This Feels Like The End' is such a nice song that has dark lyrics - a common theme on this record. I like the chorus on this one and found myself singing along to this one a lot whilst writing this Spin. It might just be my favourite song on this album - "Can you believe what we are seeing? We devolve into inferior beings". It has a cool news broadcast vocal midway through the song similar to a 'Megadeth' or 'Rise Against' track. You get a visual whilst listening to this album of a dystopian nightmare where everyone is in chaos - the important thing right now is to focus on your loved ones and important people in your life in order to get you through the day.
A softer sound with either piano/keyboard comes on next with, 'Free If We Want It', which sounds extremely sad. This song really showcases the vocal range that Mason has, which makes it very easy to listen too and sing along with. Great song to close your eyes with headphones on and absorb as I am doing now. Grab the lyrics sheet for all these songs and get lost in it, you will not be disappointed. "I walk beside, I walk beside myself. To see what's left of you and me". Be honest when you listen to this one with headphones on and let me know secretly on our socials if this record made you emotional in anyway.
The next song, 'Impossible' is a very, very big song and a huge single from this record. If I ever get the chance to see this band play live, I already know that this song would be amazing, purely for the vocals in the chorus - "I could drown myself in someone like you, I could dive so deep I'd never come out. I thought it was impossible, but you make it possible". I hope this band keeps making albums because they can't make a bad song. Really, this song will need to be listened too in order to believe how good it is - I can't put into words that would do this song justice.
Probably the song that goes under the radar due to the fact that other songs are so good is the song, 'There Was Sun'. A very summery sounding song with the intro and repetition of vocals and beat. The band have a lot of fun on this song and is probably the track I would dance too at a club from this album (not that I go to clubs these days). Very different to the earlier tracks and gives me a 'Michael Jackson' feeling whilst listening to this one. "Now I'm pulling back the screen to let the future in. The light comes flooding in, the light comes flooding in". There also hasn't been any faults in this press during playback and I should have mentioned this earlier but I did get side-tracked by 'Nothing But Thieves and their quality here.
Now it gets a bit darker, like the sun has set and the raw sounding, 'Can You Afford To Be An Individual?' comes through my headphones. You can really feel the change in the sound here which reverts back to the sound at the start of the album. Guitar work of Langridge-Brown, Craik and Blake on this track is awesome in setting this darker mood. There is a partial rap style late 90's/ early 00's feel to this one and I like the lyrics of , "And as you stare into your reflection what do you see? Your black hole for a soul". Great song to play at a festival to the masses with pure passion and really asking the question of can you really afford to be an individual? Maybe even a 'Rage Against the Machine' style mosh would suit this track - listen along, you will know exactly what I mean towards the middle/end. Massive rant towards the end asking a lot of questions of himself and anyone who is listening, to the point where Mason is pretty much spent and out of breath.
It is with great sadness that this is the last song of the record - 'Before We Drift Away'. Being the end of the album, 'Nothing But Thieves' have decided to end with a powerful song to finish off. Giving me slightly 'Radiohead' vibes in parts - "And as we sing this familiar song, I thought I'm gonna miss your love when it's gone. Will if flow into the river or will it go to waste? Before we drift away". Haunting ending with the vocals but makes you want to flip to side A and spin again. This album has the power to let out your anger, sadness and has the ability to heal, if you want it.
The stylus comes to the end and continues to spin in the dead wax. I lift the tonearm and place it back in it's cradle before taking the record off and placing it back in it's poly sleeve. Wow, what did we just listen too? Let me know if you enjoyed this album from 'Nothing But Thieves' as much as I did tonight. Make sure to check out our podcast (episode 2 just dropped - click here) and give us some love on our social pages. Keep an eye out for our MWSP and have a guess if you're brave enough.
Until our next Spin, Be Kind to your Mind and Be Kind to your Wax!