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The Hands That Thieve

Streetlight Manifesto

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Album Review

There's something inherently ebullient about third-wave ska, where the ramped-up energy level and punk rock touches seem to imbue the music with a certain amount of energy and enthusiasm. For the most part it feels like party music, which isn't a bad thing by any stretch, but it means that it takes a special something to pull it out of the realm of fun-time jams and into something deeper. On The Hands That Thieve, Streetlight Manifesto accomplish just such a feat, delivering an album of bittersweet ska-punk that feels more grown-up than anyone could have expected the genre to be. In a way, it feels as if Streetlight Manifesto have been imbued with that same New Jersey magic found in bands like the Gaslight Anthem (who also hail from New Brunswick), where no matter what it is they're trying to do, there's always a kind of poetic earnestness lying under the surface of their songs. On the surface, it's easy to get pulled in by the driving guitars and the upbeat horn arrangements, but just below them sits an autumnal undercurrent, and while a lot of ska bands can make records for partying, it's a rare thing to find a band that can make one for a lonely walk on a fall day. And anyone who enjoys the album should be sure to check out its sister release, The Hand That Thieves, a more laid-back, acoustic reimagining of the album by Tomas Kalnoky's solo project, Toh Kay.

Customer Reviews


This is seriously one of the best albums I have ever heard, by one of the best bands I have ever hear, but Streetlight Manifesto does not want you to buy this album online. Streetlight has been having a long dispute with thier record label who has been pocketing most of their funds from record sales. Support the band, not the record label. Download it illeaglly, seriously, the band said it's okay.

Got a hold of the album and it's fantastic!

I love it. There's two songs that I felt were a bit weaker in Ungrateful and Oh Me, Oh My! Otherwise, the rest of them are all top notch.

My one thing you need to know is not to purchase it from here. iTunes is fine, but don't buy it from Victory! Instead, go to the risc store website and buy it directly from Streetlight Manifesto! Support them and not Victory! They forced Tom to take down his music video for With Any Sort of Certainty claiming copyright. They've just in general been awful to SM and Tom for the past ten years. Go get the album, but buy it from them, not Victory.

BUY from Streetlight! NOT from iTunes...

enought said.


Formed: 2002 in New Brunswick, NJ

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The New Jersey ska-punk outfit Streetlight Manifesto grew out of two similar late-'90s groups from the region, One Cool Guy and Catch-22. Delivering a brassy, upbeat brand of third wave ska — complete with punk-styled melodies courtesy of vocalist Tomas Kalnoky — the band made its debut in 2003 with Everything Goes Numb. Two years of touring followed as Streetlight Manifesto played countless shows alongside Whole Wheat Bread, Mu330, Bedouin Soundclash, and Gym Class Heroes. However, personnel...
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