You know those friends of yours who are in a band, and they keep asking you what you think of their music? And, you know, it’s not that they’re exactly bad, but that they’re not really so good that you can be honestly enthusiastic about them? And, O.K., you go out to their shows, and you clap and tell them that they were really good, but actually you just went out to the show because the girl who works the door at Emo’s is really cute, and you were busy flirting with her while they were playing, and, to tell the truth, you just caught the last song?
Well, IV Thieves are that band. Relocated from Nottingham, England to the far more happening Austin, TX, IV Thieves also pared down their name in the transatlantic crossing. And merging lead bandit Nic Armstrong in among the rest of the merry thieves makes a bit of sense for the album. Not only is the songwriting shared among members (unlike the Armstrong led debut The Greatest White Liar), but the group’s second release, If We Can’t Escape My Pretty, also sounds in places like a lot of bands you’ve already heard — a little Strokes here, a little Franz Ferdinand there, some Beatles-y harmonies, lots of Brit-poppy guitars. One song, “The Sound And The Fury” (no relation to the Faulkner masterpiece, I’m afraid), features synth fills that sound almost exactly like a mini-Moog, 1969 style, like the four Liverpuddlians used on Abbey Road, only with an unmemorable hook, a faceless rhythm section, and irritating, snide vocals. “The Day Is A Downer,” is almost there (meaning almost good), with a sharper chorus and some decent guitar fills, but just falls short of making you want to hit the replay button.