The Hands That Thieve review by Streetlight Manifesto

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Apr 30, 2013
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.4 (25 votes)
Streetlight Manifesto: The Hands That Thieve

Sound — 9
Streetlight Manifesto has, since their very first album, been putting the chisel to the rock in terms of securing their place as ska top dogs. With their new release, "The Hands That Thieve", they really overdo themselves on another level. The guitar parts are very solid, and start to shine even more in this album than previous ones; with acoustic parts, fun little uke-ish bits, and punk crunches all over. The horn lines really kick some a-s on this album as they have on most of their other releases. Most bands nowadays are trying to branch out and get some new sound that people will love. Well Streetlight has seemingly gone back to their "Somewhere In The Between" sounds, and ramped it up to all new levels. I really enjoy the somewhat dissonant horn-over-horn lines, which add a musical depth that makes your ears scream and sigh in pleasure all together. Some of the horn lines in "The Three Of Us" reminded me a lot of their cover of "Just" on "99 Songs". However, other songs like "Toe To Toe" and my personal favorite "Oh Me, Oh My" are very smooth and really treat your ears to a wonderful music experience. The horn section is an ever improving machine that blows me away every time I hear it. The production on this album also seems to be much sharper in contrast to "Everything Went Numb", and not in a bad way. Some may say it's over-produced for a punk/ska album, but I really thought it was another step towards musical maturity and showing how much the band is in control of their sound.

Lyrics — 8
Kalnoky has always had lyrics that I love, some corny and some in-depth thinkers but hey, no one can be perfect all the time. This album doesn't seem to have as many rhymes and faster-than-light lines, but it does have some very catchy nuggets of lyrical awesomeness. There are quite a few repeated lines, which is somewhat uncanny of Streetlight, but really emphasize the themes and ideas that the band as a whole is trying to convey. It's been a rough ride for them with Victory, and many interpret this album as a narrative of their trials and tribulations with Victory. I personally saw every song as a standalone that told its own story, while together gave an awesome narrative (Victory related or not) of the band and their journey. Music politics aside, Kalnoky does his story-telling lyrics better than every on this album, and makes ever better allusions on these tracks. He really does seem like a deep down thinker that takes his song-writing seriously, and on their latest release Kalnoky seems to really exploit that side of himself. Some of the lines do come across as cheesy or leaving you think "What the hell did that mean?" However, overall the quality of the lyrics keeps to par of the other Streetlight releases, which, if you liked then, you should love now. Tomas Kalnoky sings on this album, in my humble opinion, slightly better than the previous ones. His voice sounds sharper (and not tonally) where it needs to and rougher were his feels shine through. I've always enjoyed how his vocal talent melded with the bands sounds so well, but hey, ska isn't all about the singers talent (especially with Crack Rock Steady!)

Overall Impression — 9
This album was really killer to me. Living in a remote location in Africa I didn't get the hype (if there was any) over this album, so when I got it I had no idea what to expect, other than knowing what Streetlight previously sounded like. Compared to their past albums (which I know back and forth religiously) I think this gives a really nice addition to the ska archives, and is a great point for Streetlight on choosing where there carrier will go: up ever higher or mellow out to those ska legends. Try not to let biases (my personal favorite that people have told me is: "Of course you love them! They are the cliche poster-boys of third-wave!") get in the way of an awesome album that should stay with ska fans for quite a while to come.

YouTube preview picture
YouTube preview picture

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Nero Galon
    I had typed up my comment, and decided i'd listen to the album while typing it all up. I still stand by saying that Everything Goes Numb is their best work as of yet. I was going to say this album was like Somewhere In Between, where it has some great songs and then some filler. But after giving this another listen it's grown on me. That's what happened to me with this band in the beginning, they quickly grew on me. I give this an 8/10.
    Incredible album, Streetlight Manifesto never disappoints! If you haven't heard it yet, I would highly recommend picking up a copy of this album!
    I absolutely love Streetlight, been one of my favorite bands for years and this is a solid album. I have a very hard time being impartial since I did truly love Somewhere in the between and Everything goes Numb. I do think this CD is the worst of the three unfortunately, but a great CD none the less it just pales in comparison to its extremely superb predecessors, regardless everyone should give it a listen.
    If you're going to take the time to sit down and write a review, then please, PLEASE take the time to proof and edit it (or at least make someone else do it for you). Other than that, it sounds like a bloody good album
    Idk what you read but I didn't see any grammar or spelling errors.
    "and is a great point for Streetlight on choosing where there carrier will go" should have been "and is a great point for Streetlight on choosing where their carrer will go"
    Ladies and gentlemen, it should have read: "and is a great point for Streetlight on choosing where their career will go"
    I feel like I'm missing something with this band. I feel like stuff is all over the place in terms of trumpets randomly added in...mind me that's just my 2 cents. I prefer Reel Big Fish and Big D and the Kids Table
    Have only heard a couple songs so far. But I was a huge fan of Somewhere In The Between, so I'm sure I'll love this new album.