The Long Island music scene’s history is rich with rebellion, and Quiet Like a Thief is keeping that legacy alive in the new single and music video “Travel in Time” this September. Embodying so much of the intensity of a punk age that this corner of America helped to usher in so many decades ago, Quiet Like a Thief’s video for “Travel in Time” is equally an homage to tough tempo and a sneak preview of what their discography could sound like once it fills out a little more. They’re young and hungry, and that’s essentially the theme of this piece.
I think it’s important to note, given the considerable influx of pop-punk players coming out of the woodwork in the last couple of years, that Quiet Like a Thief aren’t working off of a straight reprint of the fast n’ furious tones we heard with the emo/pop-punk explosion of the 2000s. Instead, while I think it’s evident that they take a lot of influence from that chapter in rock history, they’re too beat-focused to be a throwback band – after all, it’s hard for me to picture a lot of ‘00s punks grooving as hard as this crew does from start to finish in this single.
The guitars score as much footing as the percussion does in this arrangement and can be credited for shaping the beat as much as any element of the bottom-end here does, and I think this concept of a constant equilibrium is the main reason why Quiet Like a Thief sound so physical in this song. They’re aggressive yet even-paced, which requires a degree of both performance and compositional discipline that has become strikingly difficult to come by in the last couple of years (notably in the alternative rock genre above all others).
This mix doesn’t tilt away from the vocal so much as it lends this singer a lot of space to air out his voice to any extent he sees fit. My man doesn’t disappoint, slaying the verses with a disdainful decadence that is as ironic as it is fetching and well-suited for the narrative of the lyrics. There’s a moodiness he’s incorporating into this single that I want him to exploit even more in the future, and I have a feeling that I’m not going to be the only critic commenting about it before the year has come to an end.
I think I speak for a lot of pop-punk fans when I say that I’m looking forward to hearing what comes next for the storied genre, and among the fresh bands trending out of the underground in 2020 and 2021, Quiet Like a Thief is one of my new favorites. They’re aesthetical legacy kids who don’t bring a predictably pessimistic view to their lyrical approach, and combined with the muscularity of their melodies, theirs is a formula for making contemporary punk sound a little truer to the DIY roots of the genre than some incarnations – recent and retro the same – have in the new millennium.
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