It’s probably always been the case, but these days, indie guitar bands seem to be two-a-penny. And if you happen to hail from London, it’s reasonable to assume that you’ll end up dodging a barrage of half-hearted comparisons and badly aimed accusations. Brixton 4-piece The Thirst are no different, even if they do refreshingly live south of the river, but scratch the surface of their debut and you’ll discover a carefully assembled melting pot of style, influence, innate localised social comment and more than your moneys worth of passion.
Signed to Ronnie Wood’s label Wooden Records ‘On The Brink’ is the end result of three years of relentless touring, massive self-belief and a clutch of sparkling songs. Music is, or at least should be, colour blind, unless of course you like to unwind to the sounds of Prussian Blue, and being a black musician in an aspiring rock band isn’t going to raise many eyebrows; but an all black guitar wielding band… well that’s a different matter isn’t it? The answer is no, not especially, although it does put a slight twist on things, if only superficially.
Lulled into a false sense of security with the opening acoustic pin-drop poignancy of ‘They Don’t Know’, The Thirst soon come out with all guns blazing, armed to the teeth with clashing drums, waves of dysfunctional guitars, low slung bass lines and rocketing vocals, all punctuated with yelping slices of South London on heat. ‘Watch Me Now’, ‘Ready To Move’, ‘Sail Away’ and ‘My Everything’ provide an all consuming and intoxicating short, sharp, shock that although is an assumed prerequisite of the genre, leaves many bands struggling to justify its use, whereas The Thirst effortlessly breeze through. So far so good and things continue to get better with the softly strong and considered 'I'm Falling' proving that the band aren’t riding on a bandwagon harnessed to a dilapidated one trick pony.
‘Acre Lane’ allows a nostalgic light hearted stomp through the stifling and murky heat that Brixton is infamous for before getting back to the darker side of basics with the explosive ‘I Believe’ and ‘On The Brink’. ‘All Mine’ employs a touch of ska drenched solace but the big guns are saved for last. ‘Don’t Waste Your Time’ schizophrenically sounds like nothing else on the album, while at the same time sounding like all previous ten tracks rolled into one. Not only is it a cracker, but it marks The Thirst as a band who refuse to be restrained by expectation or ready to pigeonhole themselves through their debut long-player.
‘On The Brink’ might not be big, new or clever, but its authentic intensity gives it legs and suggests better things to come from a band who can more than hold their own on and off the stage.