CD Review: Company of Thieves — Ordinary Riches

CompanyofthievesCD Company of Thieves
Ordinary Riches

Wind Up Records

By Eileen Tilson

Oscar
Wilde was one of the greatest celebrities of his time. He ran with the upper
circles, hobnobbing with the rich through his status of famed playwright. He had
an uncanny ability to remain in-tune with his culture and upper-class society,
and yet made fun of them in his work. He famously reflected that “Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot.
In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.”

His
words resonated deeply with Chicago-based trio Company of Thieves, whose debut
album Ordinary Riches was not only based upon, but their first single,
“Oscar Wilde,” is directly dedicated. The band's driving force is to create songs
that give a cinematic view of a world full of turmoil, all while trying to
reveal the deeper truths. And yet, it is singer Genevieve Schatz’s voice that
grabs your attention. “We’re influenced by a lot of different
artists,” Schatz adds. “Everything from jazz and Motown to Billie Holiday and The Beatles. Seeing how they expressed themselves helped us to figure out
another way to express ourselves in music.”


The band’s very name is taken from
their collection of idols, which is refreshingly honest in a world of musicians
who still claim that their music is intrinsically unique. The influences are
detectable from Fiona Apple and Dolores O’ Riordan’s pipes, Johnny Greenwood's
guitars, and John Lennon’s political activism, yet this band is far from
impersonating.

There is definitely no lack of substance on the
album, which ranges from vintage folk and blues, to pop, to glimpes of '70s
funk. Having met in Union Station,
Schatz and guitar player Marc Walloch
played in coffee shops around Chicago before piecing together the final members
of Company of Thieves. Playing at the Billboard/Yahoo “Next Big Thing” showcase,
the band was introduced as the talk of the music industry, and have not looked
back since. After touring in and around the Midwest, the band has gained a
consistent fan-base, winning their audience over with their poetic lyrics catchy
sound. The Company of Thieves have put together their own social commentary,
using their bookends “Old Letters” and “New Letters” to hold together the
plethora of different genres they incorporate in their sound, making for an
intricate album that Oscar Wilde would be proud of.

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