Well Mannered Thieves - Divide the Light EP
Released October 11, 2014
By Dwayne Morgan
Hearing the lo-fi intro of the opening track, Wink Wink Smile, you know what's coming next: The big boom of the full production. It's going to kick in, and it's going to be big. I just didn't expect how big and how crisp it would sound. I knew I was in for some sonic pleasure as it kicked in, and my only hope was that Well Mannered Thieves could follow through with well written songs. Well, they did not disappoint. The following songs of the EP keep you moving with their catchy grooves and hooky choruses that will likely be stuck in your head well after you've turned it off. Hearing such catchy music without sounding like they're cookie cutter tunes is a breath of fresh air, especially with the 5/4 verses of Burn My Luck. I imagine these songs would be a high point for their live show, and I would love to be there if/when they ever stop in Vancouver.
The mood changes for the last half of the EP, giving me a Sunday afternoon kind of feel. The vocal harmonies of Red Dresses is especially soothing, with Lira Rose's voice being a sweet compliment to Paul Orton's vocal (current vocalist Heidi Cantalejo joined the group after the recording). The tape hiss during Twisted Letters is a nice touch, as it fills the space between the sparsity of the music. It conjures up nostalgia for your old cassettes (for those old enough to remember), and shows that tape hiss is not necessarily a bad thing that has it's place and time.
This EP is full of polished pop/indie/rock goodness, and it's very easy to listen to it from start to finish. Not enough bands write albums/EPs of this caliber anymore. A big part of that equation is the high quality of the production, which makes it particularly frustrating to scour their website looking for the names of the Producer and/or Engineer(s) and not find them mentioned anywhere. To me it feels like overlooking the doctor who delivered your baby, and that's too bad.