CD Review: Streetlight Manifesto

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 06.06.13 | Issue # 341



The Hands That Thieve

Victory Records/Shock

Those with their finger on the pulse of ska punk had to push through a painstaking number of release date changes for the latest Streetlight Manifesto record, but with most songs on The Hands The Thieve racking up a running time of five minutes plus, there’s plenty of music to fill withdrawal symptoms.

The record does, however, feel a bit too musically orientated. The extended arrangements would be perfectly suited to a live format. On the other hand, when you’ve got such a strong horn section, why not squeeze ever last inch of talent out of it.

It’s not a matter of quantity versus quality, because every second of each song is pumped full of schizophrenic energy, it’s just after three or so minutes you find yourself quite aware that the song is still powering through.

Oh Me, Oh My – the only song coming in under four minutes – is streamlined for radio with its perfectly placed whoas, group vocals and generic song structure, which is out of character for Streetlight. Maybe they needed one generic pop tune to satisfy their label.

Since their formation, frontman Tom Kalnoky and co have been locked into an unhealthy contract with Victory Records – a commitment they have made their feelings on widely known (“Victory Records is an artist-hostile, morally corrupt and generally dishonest company,” they said last year). While the strain of their relationship comes through on this record from time to time, it hasn’t put a permanent downer on their progress.

Daniel Cribb