One fuggy London evening a few weeks ago, I wandered down into the depths of New Cross road on an audio-visual mission. My destination was The Black Flag, a hybrid pub-spawn of the Devonshire Arms and a pirate nest, to receive a Thought Criminals album from their synthist, backing vocalist and now publord, Kirlian Blue.
The first thing I noticed when I glanced at the CD cover, midway through the first snakebite of the evening, were the…conspicuous nipples of the singer. This may seem a frivolous and irrelevant observation but it is in fact a crucial one. You see, Rocky’s nipples are the perfect metaphorical representation for The Thought Criminals and their music. His nipples are slightly elliptical, unlike the average man-nipple, which is reminiscent of the way in which their kitchen sink synthpop is unlike modern self-indulgent electro music that sounds as if a morbidly obese boy has been unleashed on a solid chocolate Korg Wavestation.
The contrast between the intense red of the nipple and skin is akin to the way in which The Thought Criminals stand out amongst other bands that fall within the genres they cover (quite a few). The sharp edge of industrial encasing the delicate hum of synth topped with the matured crust of punk and residue of south London define both Rocky’s nipples and the sound of The Thought Criminals.
The unique nature of the band can be heard in their first album Die Young: Stay Pretty which is a toe tapping waltz through the streets, club toilets and dark alleyways of London Town accompanied by a heavy beat laced with references to rohypnol and ‘DNA ice-cream’.
They sing of the realities of London life and experiences of ‘chemical alley’ which push you down the rabbit hole and then out into the desolation of shopping in Deptford. Clubworthy tunes such as Party ‘Till the Police Come and My Baby’s a Suicide Bomber accompany the slightly more morbid yet equally clubworthy Date Rape Lovers and Papa’s Got a Brand New Gun which will leave the brain reeling with worryingly catchy choruses as well as humming Cyberslut by accident when purchasing goods from Sainsbury’s.
The band’s sound contains audible traces of Gary Numan, Tik and Tok, Nine Inch Nails and a gorgeously dark sense of humour which will leave a little smile on your face. The year of 2010 sees them releasing a new EP for Dirty Electro as well as a new album entitled You’re a Moral Liability. So if you like originality, dancing or music then you will probably love The Thought Criminals and the Thought Criminals will probably love you.
Youtube video for you: Suicide Bomber