"It feels like the boys have taken a moment to breathe, refocus and redirect."
Three years have passed since Nothing But Thieves unleashed their stellar second album Broken Machine, which garnered even more attention after 2015’s self titled debut, with infectious hits like Amsterdam and Sorry. But even though it seems like an awfully long time to wait, the Essex quintet’s output is like a game of pass the parcel, where every new unravelling reveals more treasure. So, after two cracking albums and loads of world tours, it feels like the boys have taken a moment to breathe, refocus and redirect for album number three, Moral Panic.
Touching on our current bleak times, social paranoia and fear of dystopian realities, these tangible themes pulse away beneath the thumping, bombastic lines, jagged guitars and Conor Mason’s unfaltering sky-high vocals; it makes for a very enjoyable sonic and thematic listen. There’s far more space and subdued moments (Phobia, Free If We Want It and the album's title track) between the all-out bangers (Unperson, Can You Afford To Be An Individual?), yet topping Broken Machine was always going to be tough ask. Mason’s energy and aggression was the flagbearer of that standout album, and Moral Panic lives a little in its shadow. Only a couple of tracks don’t quite pack the same punch as their comrades, but all up though it’s another very dazzling feather in Nothing But Thieves’ cap.