“This is not what you think it is, it’s worse.”
If you can take one positive thing about 2020, and let’s face it, there’s not much, music has been utterly brilliant; creativity has not been a victim of Covid. Nothing but Thieves third album came just at the right time, when the world is suffocating under Lockdown’s, harsh restrictions and social isolation. The aptly titled, Moral Panic, brings the listener through a Euphony of emotions, the upbeat melodies in contrast to the meaning or perhaps my understanding of the lyrics.
I remember traveling to the UK, to a tiny venue in Liverpool to see the band. I was giddy with excitement, half expecting that the lead singer, Conor Mason, would not sound as he did on the albums I had played over and over again. In a word of autotuned singers that has ruined music, I always fear that the rawness I adored in a singer’s voice would be diluted. I closed my eyes when the band took to the stage and breathed a sigh of relief, as the melody played and Conor sang the first line of the opening number. The hairs on my arms and the back of my neck stood to attention. Conor has this powerful angelic sounding voice, that can go from soft and seductive to rock god in just a few bars.
Moral Panic is a current, relatable album, full of heavy rifts and angelic vocals, and thought provoking lyrics. When the world returns to normal, anthems like Unperson and Can you afford to be an Individual? will join songs like Itch, Ban all the Music, Amsterdam, I’m not made by Design, I was just a kid, and Graveyard Whistling as crowd pleasures where we get to dance our hearts out in live venues again.
And there is something so appealing when a mild-mannered singer, with such a powerful voice utters a curse in a song that makes me smile.
If you’ve listened to any of my writing playlists, Nothing but Thieves are in there a lot. If not, then I advise you to go back to the very start, to the Graveyard Whistling EP. Or any Vikings and Cover fans out there, check out this spin tingling cover used for Season 2 of Vikings, Holding out for a Hero.