Right from the word go, Reading’s Attention Thieves scruff you firmly by the collar with their idiosyncratic brand of brash and abrasive post-hardcore. Full-length debut, ‘Year Of The Jackal’, admittedly fails to break the mould, but boasts a remarkable amount of energy and confidence for this freshly born outfit, abounding with potential.
With their former label going bust previous to the release of their full-length, the band were abandoned with extensive debt. Concurrently, singer/guitarist Alex Green also suffered from a bout of ill health, leading to a devastating heart attack at the age of just 27. Thankfully, the long and arduous adversity endured was vastly fruitful, as Attention Thieves have managed to deliver one of the best alternative rock albums of the year yet.
Branching from melodious pop-rock infused ‘Tell Me Why’ to the weightier crash of ‘Culture Of Fear’, ‘Year Of The Jackal’ stands as an abundantly diverse thrill ride, despite adopting a sound that many listeners are presently familiar with. Although the LP houses a breadth of influences, it remains richly paced and never protrudes into predictable territory.
The album isn’t flawless, however, as its initial bout of excellence is soon to dwindle. Concluding tracks ‘The Jackal’ and ‘Actors Cast As Heroes’ lack the intense blow delivered from their preceding counterparts. The tracks are by no means filler, they simply struggle to equate to the album’s more compelling moments. The same can be said for latter instrumental, ‘Sleepyear’. Although it prevails in breaking up predictability, it still feels lacklustre in the wake of weightier tracks.
Overcoming every obstacle thrown at them, Attention Thieves have come out on top with a debut they should truly be proud of. Delivering a fiery twist to the genre that is both stylistically diverse and in your face, ‘Year Of The Jackal’ is not one to be missed!
Written by Kieran Harris