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Grand Theft Audio
Fresh from releasing their debut album, Cork noisemakers Time Is A Thief are ready to make their mark. Bassist Michael Murphy talks studio, stage and why nu-metal wasn’t so bad after all.
Dave Hanratty, 31 May 2012
For most artists, a debut album is as much a statement of intent as a collection of their best and brightest work to date. In the case of Cork foursome Time Is A Thief, their first full-length We’re Not Strangers is all that and more. Its very title is a declaration of defiance, a reminder that this outfit have grafted for years in a bid to break through, playing a million empty shows to only family and friends. Their frustration suits them. We’re Not Strangers is an uncompromising, balls-to-the-wall rock record that grabs the listener from moment one and refuses to let go until the very end. While the band often draw comparisons to the likes of Biffy Clyro and Twin Atlantic, there’s an unmistakable air of – whisper it – nu-metal to their up-tempo style. Fair?
“It’s interesting you mention nu-metal because we’re actually quite fond of it!” laughs bassist and sometime backing vocalist Michael ‘Murf’ Murphy. “Sure, some terrible bands came through during that era, but if you look at the likes of Wes Borland in Limp Bizkit, some of his riffs are absolutely monster. There are great musicians in that band but they’re very under-appreciated because people look back and they just see Fred Durst dancing around with the red hat which is, admittedly, horrible!”
The production on We’re Not Strangers adds to that early-’00s feel, with fellow Cork native Ciaran O’Shea of Cyclefly fame behind the desk lending a clear, crisp sound to proceedings that, while certainly commercial, retain a hard edge. That’s not to suggest that Time Is A Thief are generic noisemakers with a glossy finish. While they’ve had to shake off the ‘metal’ tag in their short career thus far (having a vocalist who enjoys a bit of a screaming session will tend to put you in that bracket), there’s a strong pop sensibility at play across the album’s 35-ish minutes, with melody taking priority over aggression. And, perhaps surprisingly given today’s musical climate, there’s not a synth-related effect to be found.