Thieves and Villains
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Thieves and Villains

Marlboro, New York, United States | INDIE

Marlboro, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Rock


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" "South America" Review"

If you google “simplicity quotes” you might stumble upon a quote by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that goes “In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity”. Now, I’m sure that Hank didn’t expect to have his words used to describe what makes Thieves and Villains’ new album South America so great, but regardless, I’m going to use them anyways.

South America is the follow up to their Victory Records debut Movement, which in this reviewer’s opinion wasn’t that spectacular. However, I’m not quite sure what sparked the change in direction, but it was a smart move for Thieves. Rather than follow in the footsteps of every band trying to get noticed with overproduced music, the band opted to utilize crunching power chords and make a 90’s powerpop record. This pays off.

“16 Hits”, the first track off the record introduces the record well. It’s got a similar feel to the first album, but doesn’t waste any time showing the change in style. It’s songs like “Song For Dean Moriarty”, “Virginia Woolf” and “Drunk In Amsterdam” that make South America a great sophomore release. However, it’s songs like “Some May Call It Rain”, “South America”, “South St. Hymnal” that make this a great release in general.

Thieves And Villains definitely put the power back into “power-pop”. It’s refreshing to see a band go in the complete opposite direction than what would be expected and come out with positive results.

-End Review

Open Letter to the band Thieves and Villains

Dear Thieves and Dear Villains,

Please help Weezer write their next album, as you seem to be able to write the kind of music they forgot how to write. I’m not writing this letter to be a douchebag to anyone, but seriously…”Can’t Stop Partying” was a terrible song. -

"CWG Magazine Review of "South America" (3.5 out of 4)"

As someone who had been really into Movement, Thieves and Villains’ first album, I was stoked when I heard that they were releasing a second full length. Then I saw the vintage look of the album cover and heard the first single “Virginia Woolf” and couldn’t help but think, “They must have listened to a lot of Contra.” I won’t lie, I began to get a tad worried, only because I’m not a huge Vampire Weekend fan, and I’d loved Thieves and Villains’ original sound. Then I heard the rest of the album and any concern I’d had quickly evaporated.

The vintage look of South America certainly fits the old school process the band took to record it. Along with producer Tom Gilles (Taking Back Sunday, Thursday, Local H), the guys recorded on old tape machines with their own gear and live tones. They didn’t use up hundreds of takes, nor did they spend hours tweaking this-and-that after recording was finished. Instead, they used their real-life musical talents to record polished songs, which is quite a concept these days.

The first track, “16 Hits”, starts off quick to pull you into the themes of the album, and sets up a trend of catchy choruses that can be found in each song. Then you come to tracks like “Virginia Woolf” and “The Aesthetic Life Is The Life For Me”, both of which are songs that’ll draw quick comparisons to Vampire Weekend. I for one immediately thought of VW’s “Cousins” when I first heard them, due to the strong similarities in drumming styles, but thankfully the songs managed to stay true to Thieves and Villains’ lyrical and vocal styles for the most part.

Something I really did enjoy was the subtle experimentation in the album, compared to the somewhat cookie cutter sound of Movement, that showed growth in the new style of this band. For example, Sergio Otaegui’s vocals in tracks like “Central Park” test the limits of his pitch, going higher than anything I remember hearing from the first album, which worked wonderfully. Then come the lyrics, which prove to be commanding a more grown up sound. This isn’t due to experimentation so much as a representation of the three years of full time tour experience that matured a band who’d started their career fresh out of high school. Not every song is focused solely on looking inward, which is a nice change of pace for these guys.

If you liked Movement you’ll probably enjoy the tracks “16 Hits”, “American Boy”, and “South America”, which are most reminiscent of that sound. It’s the perfect album to bring the summer of 2010 to a close, with songs like “Island Waterfall Blues”, that will have you looking back fondly on these past weeks of hot weather, car rides with friends, and late nights. It’s 38 minutes of good, fun music, that ends up being a real 13 track full length (as opposed to following this 8 track “mini-album” trend). Do yourself a favor and go for a drive with this album. Songs like “I Want a Friend Like You” and “Drunk In Amsterdam” sound so much better blasting through car speakers than through headphones, especially on the first listen through.

" "South America" Review (4.75 out of 5)"

Upon seeing this band belonged with Victory Records I was expecting either a shitty attempt at a metalcore act or a bunch of faggots whining about their daily woes, as Victory's catalog over the past few years has reflected. Needless to say, I was wrong on both accounts.

After a little research I found out that this is the bands highly anticipated sophomore album, following its predecessor, Movement. South America starts off with the track 16 Hits, which as the similar bands section indicates sounds a lot like Kings of Leon, but a lot better. Vocalist Sergio Otaegui has a powerful and demanding voice while the rest of the band matches him with a driving blend of alternative and indie sound. The next few tracks, however go into a completely different sound that I couldn't really find any other bands to compare to. Going into the 5th track, Christopher Pennings(guitarist, pianist & vocalist) takes over and the band almost takes on a whole new sound in a more pop-rock sense. The rest of the album follows in the same pattern, almost seamlessly switching their sound whenever each vocalist takes the lead.

The band also delivers instrumentally-wise, with hooks and riffs that you'll find yourself tapping your foot or nodding your head along with. The drummer is without a doubt my favorite part of the band, as he maintains a steady flow of energy while periodically the rest of the band kind of tunes it down. Recording quality is also top notch, which just adds on to how actually impressed I was by a Victory Records band.

Overall, this album is definitely a hit for them, and the only real problem I have with it is that I wish it were released a few months earlier, due to the fact that this could have been the indie rock album of the summer -

" "South America" Review (82 out of 100)"

If you remember who this band is, then you might recall the album review AbsolutePunk staffer, Tony Pascarella did on their first album Movement. Tony had mentioned in the review that Thieves and Villains lacked several things, such as substance and ambition. Hell, he even said frontman Sergio Otaegui's vocals were lifeless throughout the album. The band's new sophomore effort South America was just released and you might be wondering if the new album is anything like Movement. Honestly, it's almost completely different. Thieves and Villains have evolved into a radiant butterfly and have spread their wings to display it's new look (well, sound in this case). Forget what you thought you knew about this band, go ahead and take a trip to South America , enjoy the ride and all it's nice surprises it has in store for you.

Everything about Thieves and Villains is bigger and better now, a lot better. Sergio Otaegui has certainly breathed life into his voice now, adding more drive and heart into it. That goes for the entire band as a matter of fact. Musically, there are several songs that sound similar to Vampire Weekend (yes, Vampire Weekend), such as the incredibly catchy ''Virgina Woolf'' and ''Central Park.'' They also channel early Weezer in a few as well, most recognizably in ''The Aesthetic Life Is the Life For Me'' and ''Island Waterfall Blues,'' two great tunes to just let loose to and make the best of your free time with.

Album opener ''16 Hits'' sets the tone for the record, starting off slow with strumming guitars before building up with the whole band eventually joining in, while Otaegui's impressive vocals soar gracefully throughout the song. Other standout tracks include: ''I Want A Friend Like You'' and ''Drunk In Amsterdam.'' The beginning of ''I Want A Friend Like You'' sounds like it could be a song off of a cheesy family movie soundtrack with it's goofy guitar riffs and opening lyrics. Don't be fooled though, with a line like ''Sluts, clubs, and bars,'' you won't be hearing this song in the next Air Bud sequel, instead it will make a good soundtrack to a night out on the town with your best friends painting it red. The pop punk sounding ''Drunk In Amsterdam'' will get you dancing in your computer chair or bed, wherever you prefer surfing the web. The chorus will have you singing along at the top of your lungs as you embrace those sweet guitar riffs during the song's chorus.

One of the catchiest songs I've heard in a long time is ''Youth,'' which could very well be the best tune on South America. Otaegui displays some more of his impressive vocals in the song, proving he has the pipes and range to make chills go running down your spine. Also, if you are a Saves the Day fan, you might hear a resemblance to Chris Conley, with the way Otaegui sings the oh's on the track's chorus. The beautiful sounding album closer ''South St. Hymnal.'' is a soft acoustic song with ace singing by another one of the member's of the band, I'm assuming Chris Pennings. It's the perfect slow jam to play under the stars while sitting next to a campfire/bonfire as your buddies toast some tasty marshmellows and reminisce about the good old times.

Thieves and Villains aren't the same band they were on Movement, they wanted to show everyone that they are infact the real deal and with South America they are doing just that. It's not a flawless album, but they found that potential within and let it all out onto South America. It's just like those stories you hear about underdogs, you don't think they are capable of achieving what they hope to do, but in the end they surprise everyone and gain the respect they deserve. Movement is the failed attempt, and South America is the success story.


(Sophomore Album): "South America" - August 3rd 2010

(Debut Full Length): "Movement" - 2008 - Victory Records

(Digital Single): "I Have Spread Some Love (Back to Basics) - 2008 - Victory Records

(Digital Single): "Autobiography" - 2010 - Victory Records

All the tracks on our debut album can be found online and several songs from the debut album received radio play & television licensing.



- Based out of the Hudson Valley region of NY

- Formed in 2007

- Tour History: Extensive national touring since 2007 w/ The Atari's, O'Brother, Van's Warped Tour, etc

- Signed to Victory Records in early 2008

- Released debut album "Movement" on July 8 2008 (recorded in Baltimore MD with Producer Paul Leavitt (Circa Survive)

- Received positive write ups in publications like Alternative Press and the support of organizations like PETA2

- Appearances on FUSE, MTV2, and licensed music to popular shows like "The Hills," "The Real World," "Bad Girls Club," and "Gossip Girl" to name a few.

- Recorded Sophomore album in March 2010 with Producer Tim Gilles (Taking Back Sunday, Thursday, etc).

- Shot Video for first single "Virginia Woolf" with Director GL Joe (The Cool Kids, Matt & Kim, Flosstradamus, Neon Indian, etc)

- Sophomore album "South America" was released August 3rd 2010

- New album "South America" has received stellar reviews from numerous print/online sources

- First single "Virginia Woolf" was picked by FILTER Magazine/Toyota for their "best new music of 2010" sampler.

- Songs off "South America" were picked by ESPN to be part of the official soundtrack to the 2010 X-Games.

- Band is currently on tour supporting/headlining and will continue to be on the road for the remainder of 2010.

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