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Album Review

Some albums take a while to find their tone, but Sneaky Thieves have captured their desired atmosphere with the leadoff number "Elegy," a pretty, poignant and pleasing instrumental that conjures up images of Godspeed You Black Emperor! or Sigur Rós without the ethereal vocals. This leads somewhat awkwardly into a lighter, thoughtful and focused pop number "With a Smile in a Suit" which is driven by "Freddy Bale" and his earnest warble. The atmosphere is quite important to the songs, whether it is during the close, hushed tone taken during the aptly titled "Quiet" or the rather mundane jazz-tinted "Nothing, Nothing" which is basically nothing to turn one's head. Fortunately, that's often the exception as Sneaky Thieves deliver "Old Tired Joke" with an almost Radiohead-like precision for very strong results. Just as fulfilling despite being half the length is the melancholic "Across the Field," which seems perfect for rainy Sunday fall evenings. Some efforts in the middle sag, including an interlude that is horrid filler, or padding at best. Yet the group wins the listener over again with sparse, inviting jewels such as "The Din" and possibly the lone uplifting or up-tempo number "The Point Is This..." with its winding, heady bridge portion. Only during "Forgotten" does the band seem to fall into the eerie or slow-building tension category with its growing use of violins. "Coughing" closes things out the same sweet and precious way it began, as Freddy Bale is a one-man band.


Formed: 2003 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Sneaky Thieves are a Seattle-based downtempo rock band consisting of two pairs of brothers and two friends. Forming in 2003, the members are Robert Bale (bass, sampling), Freddy Bale (vocals, guitar, keyboard), Darby McDevitt (guitar, keyboard), Brendan McDevitt (drums), Steve Norman (banjo, guitar, pedal steel) and Bryant Moore (guitar,...
Full bio

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