Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Reviews:: Company of Thieves - Ordinary Riches

There are reasons why I'm talking about Company of Thieves and their new album Ordinary Riches, and those reasons are threefold. One: because I was asked to nicely. Seriously, like Kane said "Yeah it sounds old fashioned...but it works!". Two: they are from Chicago. Not sure if you've heard about it, but Chicago had a hand in doing the world at large a solid recently, so it seemed appropriate to give a little something small back. Three: they are on the latest episode of Live From Daryl's House. If you know our history here at the hill, you know being good enough for Hall is (almost) always good enough for us.

There is in fact another reason for this post, because when you mix passionate, Dolores o'Riordan-esque vocals with catchy guitar riffs aplenty, like Company of Thieves has done on Oscar Wilde, then you can usually get me on board. I'm a sucker for that combo, and it really is one of the catchiest songs I've heard recently. Genevieve Schatz is the provider of the aforementioned vocals, and those vocals swing on a lovely trapeze, going from breathy to impassioned with ease. Genevieve is certainly one of the main reasons why the band's debut is really rather enjoyable, but guitar-man Marc Walloch also deserves some plaudits for the diverse range his playing covers on the album.

The songs are fairly diverse as well - for proof you simply need to compare the back to back combo of Quiet On The Front, an angry anti-war song that features Genevieve defying the typical image one might have of a young singer with little insight on the world at large and Pressure, a well-written, well-executed look at the tension present in a bad relationship. The latter of those two might well be the best song on the album. It's not all so serious though, peppy numbers like Around The Block and Under The Umbrella pick the tempo up and get the toes a tappin' - although I should clarify and say that I don't necessarily mean the lyrics, as they aren't shiny happy people-ish in subject. But never fear, things end on a happy note, with the heartfelt, choir-assisted love letter that is New Letters.

With all this talk about reasons, hopefully my rambling has given you enough reason to check out Company of Thieves - I believe the album will be available everywhere next week. Even better, you could check their extensive tour schedule on the myspace and check them live. After all, they're good enough for Hall, so they should be good enough for you.


Posted at 2:26 PM by naedoo :: 3 comments

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At 3:54 PM, Blogger Hero did sayeth:

Is the only exception those Gym Class Heroes?


At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Carlye did sayeth:

Did you know they're offering a free download of "Oscar Wilde" in honor of the album release? Grab it here: http://www.previewnewmusic.com/companyofthieves/

Enjoy your free track :)


At 8:12 PM, Blogger Seth did sayeth:

Company of Thieves are three Midwesterners from Chicago and have released their debut, Ordinary Riches, through Wind-up Records (Evanescence, Finger Eleven, etc.). It seems this trio has come out of nowhere considering I've had trouble finding some informative reading material about the group, despite the fact Wind-up is currently the largest independently-owned record label in the world. I did, however, see they debuted on Billboard's Heatseekers Chart at #5. That has to be some kind of representation for promise.

The best aspect about this trio is singer Genevieve Schatz. She has a wispy, soulful voice and clearly has a lot of talent. If it weren't 2009, I'd expect her to be singing in front of an old rockabilly microphone (go ahead and Google it). Schatz has that airy twang from decades ago. Even her photo in the album's liner notes gives her a plain, flower girl-esque image.

As far as the sound goes, there really isn't one song I have to skip back to again and again. On the contrary, I will say the bluesy soloing guitar in the latter half of "Under The Umbrella" is impressive, as well as the harmonizing [backing] vocals. Start to finish, the instruments don't exactly jump out and grab you - a little distortion here, some gentle strumming and percussion there, but nothing spectacular. The production is done well, however. Granted, production can only take a band so far, but it doesn't go unappreciated. It's just too bad the album as a whole isn't memorable, vocals aside.

While polished, Ordinary Riches is a so-so indie effort, and Schatz just isn't the right fit for this alternative rock, poppy sound. Company of Thieves need to appropriately complement Schatz's talent if they're going to thrive as a complete package.


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