The Gentlemen Thieves are a Toronto-based indie band who’ve released one compulsively listenable EP (Crafting Lies, 2011), a Fall Sampler (2012), and are currently working towards releasing a 7″ vinyl, Shooter.
The EP’s first track, Take My Advice, kicks off with about 20 seconds of Ken Taylor (vocalist), with acoustic accompaniment, singing, “I talk in my sleep, I can’t remember my dreams / Interpret the facts but I don’t know what they mean / Expelled from my head / I wrote it down instead.” Then the guitars pick up, the drums kick in, and the song departs from the acoustic and delves into the punk-rock vibe that defines the album. Those four lines are sung out again and again for the last 40 seconds of the song, but they’re louder and angrier, rid of the acoustic hush-hush quality with which the song began. It’s repetition that’s not repetitive—a difficult quality to strike, but one that this band does expertly.
Midway through Take My Advice, a chorus of “heys” are shouted out, anticipating Taylor’s calling out of the “liars” and the “nonsense;” this also seems to be the moment where the band really finds their sonic niche. Listen to this song loud, in the car, and just try not to sing along.
Fading Echo is just as catchy with its clap-filled backing track and moments of pop-infused fun—the type of song that gets a crowd jumping at a show. The lyrics are soaked in optimism (“You are better than this” the track’s hook) but there’s enough grit in Taylor’s voice to strike down any potential cheesiness.
My favourite track from the sampler is Please Tell Me Off. There’s a quick and clever shift between “Please tell me off, I dare you to” and, “How dare you, how dare you?” followed by an impressive guitar riff.
Also on the sampler is Why Even Try, which The Gentlemen Thieves describe as a “standard musician-in-distress song,” but really, “standard” doesn’t do the song—or any of the band’s work—justice. Comparisons could be made to Brand New circa Your Favorite Weapon (2001) or even Sum 41’s All Killer, No Filler (2001), but even a brief sampling of The Gentlemen Thieves’ music assures you of their distinct sound.
So what’s up next for the band? In June, they’ll be touring through Canada’s East Coast in support of the release of their 7″ Vinyl, Shooter, featuring two unreleased songs produced by Dave Baksh (Sum 41) and mixed by Steve Rizun (The Flatliners, The Creepshow). Tour dates will soon be posted over at their website. For now, take a listen to what’s up on their bandcamp page—Take My Advice is a good place to start.