The Common Thieves are an interesting new up and coming band. Led by a most impressive lead vocalist- Jake Incao, who’s voice is a mix of many influences that haven’t been mixed before. I hear traces of Dave Matthews and the energy of Michael Jackson or Prince. Their new EP entitled- The Apocalypse: The Calm before the Storm is a modern sounding pop/rock/soul blend. “Mind Wide Open”, the first single is what Michael Jackson would have sounded like if he were an indie-rock lead singer instead of a corporate built child pop star. Ambient synths are prevalent throughout the EP giving the songs a hypnotic lucidity not often heard from this kind of bar band. The drums are also heavily effected, or programmed electronic loops, sort of like the Maroon 5 thing mixing funk with 90’s guitar rock. But different from a group like Maroon 5, who actually do go for the ‘white’ Prince thing, Jake Incao stays true to his roots, an acoustic singer/songwriter with a flair for catchy melodies and lyrical word play. You won’t walk away from this without humming the choruses in your head.
Notable tracks- “Cured” is dipped in ecstasy-induced synthesizer euphoria and machine gun drum fills. Incao’s voice really shines on this track. His vocal range is admirable to say the least. It reminds me of the guy you’d see at open mic contests, the guy who always wins. Another stand out song- “Sick”, has a country flavor to it, an acoustic lullaby similar to mid-90’s R.E.M. . This seems to be where Jake Incao feels most comfortable, his stripped down acoustic riffs behind a showcased vocal track. It’s one hell of a debut EP that’s concise and well-produced from start to finish. The Common Thieves have a niche of their own that I’m sure will play a role in the re-building of the New York music scene, of which is scattered now all across too many genres. We need a band like this to bring radio back to its purpose: good songs, good lyrics and beats that shake things up in the morning.