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With a sound that’s both epic and intimate, Theft is setting out to steal hearts nationwide.  Triuphant rhythms and layered guitars combine with lush vocals and vulnerable lyrics to create a soundscape more suitable for arena than club venues.  Theft’s debut album, ‘The Hard Way,’ released September 27th, is part one of a dual album debut, as the release of ‘For Your Rainy Heart’ quickly followed on November 29th.

Based in Los Andgeles and inspired by Brit rock, Theft is comprised of Matt McCartie (vocals), Daley Hake (guitar), Ashton Likes (bass), and Austen Hooks (drums).  Theft’s accomplishments include writing an original score for the award-winning documentary show, “True Life,” and landing their single, “Breathing Underwater” as the theme song for the intervention series, “Gone Too Far.”
Theft embarks on ‘The Hard Way’ with a challenge and a statement.  The ship is going down, will you hold on tight or jump over the side?  You might survive this, you might not; either way, you’ll “never be the same.”  This song bursts forth to capture the listener’s immediate attention.  And once you’re blissfully overwhelmed, Theft keeps you happy with the spiraling rock of “Breathing Underwater.”
Celebrating all the possibilities that lie ahead, “Fireworks Explode” says, “This is the start of everything you know” and encourages you to shine in this moment.  This artrock powerpop piece is particularly enthralling and the hinge point of the album.
What follows thereafter is lower key, straightforward rock, beginning with the title track.  Pounding drums push through as Theft says, “We do it the hard way… the best way we can.”  At this point, Theft sounds ready for the challenge.  They soon appear tired though, with the winsome “Shiver” confessing “I want to swim in the fountain where all good pennies are found”, and “Give Up” which elicits more aggravation than empathy.
The songs in the middle section of the album get away from the arena rock feel and take on a slight softrock country sound in the likeness of South Carolina’s Andy Lehman and the Night Moves.  Theft regains a bit of the show-stopping awesomeness exhibited at the outset of the album with the song, “Collide.”   Encouraging and meaningful, this song says, “I’m afraid I’ll be afraid forever,” then suggests, “You’ll never know till we try.”

 ‘The Hard Way’ ends with lush harmonies telling of past undertakings, saying “You can’t say that we never did try.  So long, goodbye.”  Theft admits that not everything goes the way we hope.  In the end, we have to ask ourselves if we are better for the experience, even if we had to do it the hard way.

Rating: 3/5