Album Review: Nothing But Thieves – Broken Machine

Release date: 8 September 2017.

Ever since Nothing But Thieves broke through with their self-titled debut album in October 2015, the fans and critics have longingly awaited the follow-up. On September 8th 2017, the five-piece from Southend-on-Sea, UK have released their next masterpiece called Broken Machine on their label Sony Music.

Since the band have started out in 2012, things have been going fast for the English indie-alt band. From selling out headline shows to supporting none other than Muse; to say that Nothing But Thieves have had a lot of success would be an understatement. Therefore the high expectations for the dreaded second album must have been daunting. But once again, Nothing But Thieves have proved once more that they are a band that can easily follow the footsteps of rock giants.

Early 2017 saw the release of their first single ‘Amsterdam’, a classic Nothing But Thieves song. For those not familiar, such a song will contain several of the following characteristics: massive chorus lines by talented lead singer and guitarist Conor Mason, being heartfelt and honest stadium rock with a touch of the classics, swinging guitars and a good dose of emotion and originality. On ‘Amsterdam’, as well as their second single ‘Sorry’, we can here a new and improved Nothing But Thieves here that has gone even bigger than before.

Title track ‘Broken Machine’ on the other hand harkens back to their more introvert sound reminiscent of their debut album Nothing But Thieves, on old songs like ‘If I Get High’ and ‘Excuse Me’. The track offers a perfect balance to the previous tracks, as well as the majority of the previously released songs. The track is followed by ‘Live Like Animals’, a dancy, grand tune that makes me see a field of festival attenders when I close my eyes, dancing late at night when Nothing But Thieves headline the NME Stage at Reading and Leeds Festival. This might be highly likely in the not so very distant future if you ask me.

What makes the album so great, is that there is no general sound to it. Some tracks are experimental, whereas other songs can be a grande epos meant to be played for a ten thousand plus audience at maximum volume. A perfect combination of the two is ‘I’m Not Made By Design’, that is just screaming (almost quite literally) to be enjoyed live, partly because of the screeching guitars that defy all genre conventions. Being the third single of the album, there is a big chance that you will be able to hear this absolute banger in a music venue near you soon!

Another great thing about the album? Even by the end, there is not a single bad track on it. A late stand-out track is ‘Get Better’, filled with energy and catchy vibes in a way that Nothing But Thieves is very well known for. ‘Hell, Yeah’ seems to be the almost-mandatory late-album ballad, but it fits so well on the album that they’re forgiven for the fact it’s only a good track instead of the other great songs on Broken Machine.

Final track ‘Afterlife’ might just be the absolute best song on the album in my eyes and comes as some kind of reward to all those who made it all the way through the album (not that it is a punishment in the slightest). Another masterpiece delivered, the last song is the perfect closer to an album that can be defined in terms of growth, maturing, and most importantly the creating of new and exciting opportunities. Nothing But Thieves have smashed expectations with an amazing album and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for them.

Linda Köke

I'm Linda, a Dutch 24 year old art and music lover. I am an art historian, working for a contemporary art platform, parttime cultural blogger, a very culinary inclined vegan (yes I will bake cookies for you!), a mother of two cats and I spend almost half my spare time on planes to or in the United Kingdom.

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