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[Album Review] Nothing But Thieves – Dead Club City Deluxe

The release of their #1 UK charting fourth LP Dead Club City last June not only welcomed in the new financial year but a new era of Nothing But Thieves, marking their ten year anniversary.

Whilst it sits rather far removed from the prog styling of Broken Machine, and their titular debut, the Dead Club City Deluxe release further cements their transition, offering five more pieces to make up the concept album, tail-ended with three new tracks and two stripped back versions of Overcome and Tomorrow Is Closed. Set for release on 15th March via RCA/Sony, the additions extend the 80’s synth, crisp lines and heightened falsetto of Conor Mason that make up the Dead Club City landscape.

Dead Club City is positioned as an exclusive members-only club with each corner of the room a snapshot into a different character’s story as represented by each individual track, played by the fictional band Zzzeros. Each story is laced with a different theme including personal relationships, analysis of the current world climate, a dissection of the media and, naturally, the makeup of the music industry. From the bold Welcome to the DCC start, the Pop The Balloon full stop at the end of the original release felt like more of a comma with more story to tell. They complete it here.

The cinematic edge of the album is continued with the Deluxe versions lead single Oh No He : Said What. A galactic showering, Oh No He : Said What explodes with laser synths, rocketing riffs and a keyboard light show. It’s Mad Max meets Xanadu, Muse’s Drones meets Client Liaison’s Diplomatic Immunity in sonic stature with glimmers of nostalgia but as a fresh take. Mason flexes his falsetto, creating memorable hooks.  

Time : Fate : Karma : God is the biggest nod to the band’s history on the album, still littered with 80’s inspiration with the inclusion of synths, but the rock elements outweigh the disco, particularly notable in the chorus’ steady ascent and refrain. The title lyrics recited in the bridge are impactful, almost anthemic, made for the live setting.

Three new songs and three very different tones; Pure You is climactic, the end that the album originally deserved. A love song dripping with 60’s lust and romance heightened by the simplicity of keys, synths and soaring guitars. Mason’s vocals are electrifying and transcendent in the final crescendo. The final refrain “until my heart explodes” reflects the single title; pure, delicate and piercing. 

Stripped versions of Overcome and Tomorrow Is Closed balance the heightened production of the top of the album to offer a new perspective of the two fan favourite tracks, in a sense continuing and closing out the Pure You love story. 

The five tracks are welcome additions to Dead Club City and offer clarity to the album’s overall concept.  

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