Former Thieves / The Language That.. / No Sleep Records
It’s not fair to say vocalist Matt Schmitz is reinventing post-hardcore with the inhuman brutality echoing from his pipes. It is temperate to admit Former Thieves are drawing different characteristics of punk in a way that doesn’t cause ugly message board rants. The Iowa group achieve this on The Language That We Speak by being comprehensive; there aren’t thrashing melodies leading into a barrage of clean vocals and there are rarely any enduring moments of voiceless instrumentation. The debut’s 27-minutes are savage, iron-fisted and clad in a vindictive jacket thanks to Chris Common’s (Native, These Arms Are Snakes) marked production. Hearing Schmitz breathlessly heave lines of aggression to the beat of rampant transitions that are mature enough not to be awkward is the album’s, and the group’s, selling point.
“Trust Fund Kids” re-enacts familiar sounds of passion and sweeping guitar parts where Josh Sparks striking skill behind the drum kit shoves you into the contagious riff that reverberates throughout “First World Blues”. Moments like these spark likenesses of acts like The Chariot – without the tendency to wander into sheer noise – but the vocals stray into monotonous territory as minutes go on, until they exasperate pitches dripping in energy (“Bad Friends”). The ups and downs of The Language That We Speak act as flaws from time to time, yet they help assemble the nature of Former Thieves. The midpoint rips (“Dead Horses Are Turned Into Glue”) scream enough talent to become your new best friend, but its the uncanny instances, like the outro of “Pacemaker Trendsetter”, that keep you from holding out on the future and putting classics such as The Opposite Of December on repeat.
Download: “Pacemaker Trendsetter”, “Bad Friends”
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