Published Jun 28, 2010Thieves Like Us know their bread and butter is in cooking up a late night vibe that encapsulates all of the confusion and excitement of a recreational night in the clubs. On their second full-length, the Swedish-American trio from Paris keep the tweaking to a minimum and mostly preserve that effortless chill of theirs. Again and Again may not stray far from what we heard on their 2008 debut, Play Music, but unlike most artists born from the blog house scene, TLU can squeeze more out of their multifarious sound. Favouring meditative songwriting over bangers, Again and Again reveals the band have taken a darker turn thanks to some meticulous layering of their musical elements. Shoegaze guitars and echoing drum pads give the surging "So Clear" its overwrought drama, whereas they find a strung-out sadness, dropping sub-bass bombs, on "Mercy." With a lilt that recalls Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant, Andy Grier's voice is the singular tool that makes the music sublimely contemplative; his whispers on New Order homage "One Night With You" and the way he carries the melody on "Lover Lover" make his position as a frontman, and TLU in general, an anomaly in electronic music.
What did you do differently on Again and Again?
Grier: Our first record was recorded over a period of three years in four different cities. We recorded Again and Again in Paris over a period of one year. We spent a lot more time on recording live percussion and guitar, and added a lot of vocal overdubs from female friends of ours. Overall, we were more focused.
The songs have this kind of despondency to them. What went on during the making of this album?
We were sitting around broke on our asses in 2007 waiting for Kitsune to release Play Music and hand over our licensing advance, which they didn't. Bjorn [Berglund] and Pontus [Berghe] had gone to Europe for three months. Kitsune simply would not answer emails and the waiting was making me crazy. My confidence in myself and the band disappeared. I locked myself indoors and went on a seven-month bender. I turned into a creepy guy during this period, roaming the streets of Manhattan in a haze. The nightmares were the worst, so many death dreams. I left Manhattan and relocated to Paris. I switched from alcohol to marijuana and I fell in love.
The photographs on Thieves Like Us releases are always so well matched with the music. Where do they come from?
I am taking the photos. For the most part, they are based on scenes I witnessed while out on late night walks. I take a lot of walks late at night. (Shelflife)