On “Dirty Livin’” the third track on their third album, Theia’s singer/frontman/guitarist Kyle Lamley has essentially nailed what it’s like to be in the underground: “slip on my boots, pick up my keys” he sings. “I’m heading out on the road to live my rock n roll fantasy…..”
This isn’t the time or the place for a discussion as to why the record buying public of the UK haven’t made Theia huge, why they’d rather watch some awful US dullards (hi, Shinedown, I haven’t slagged you this week yet, so thought I would…) than champion this trio, but it has vexed me for many years.
There is a more pressing matter at hand on “The Ghost Light” though. And for that we have to go back to “…Livin’” and the thought it contains that “we ain’t for looking a new trend…..”
With the greatest respect to them, Theia are selling themselves short here. Because while, yeah ok, this is a classic rock record and not some massive departure, there are some elements of growth here.
There is an epic feel to opener “What You Want”, its riffs are heavier and the sound is a little more, for want of a better word, modern, than before. Don’t panic, however they haven’t gone all Tesseract on us, because the chorus for this one is as catchy as they ever were.
Indeed, once they are off and running, there’s very little that could stop them. The absolute highlight here is “Mask Of The Day”, which combines an AC/DC like intent, with a hook that just about any arena rock band would be proud to call their own.
But – and here’s another reason that Kyle was being too modest when he did that thing about not looking for anything new – they’ve never done anything quite as bluesy or horn drenched as “The Revelator”, which positively explodes.
They’ve never, either, written a ballad as powerful – or dare we say mature – as “Over The City”, or been quite as experimental as they are on the brooding pair of “Bring It Down” and the title track.
“No Crisis” is another which grapples with big themes – this time taking on religion and winning with a sort of big, ballsy southern rock air. “Children Of Change” meanwhile, is everything that is good about Theia packed into three minutes. Musically, somewhere between Bon Jovi circa “It’s My Life” and Metallica, with sweet harmonies in the chorus at the same time. Even better are the lyrics that take a swipe at bands that are big on words and short on honesty: “just another fucking song you can relate to” sneers Kyle and in so doing laying waste to all the fakers”, and the repetition of “back your words up” is surely aimed at many.
It closes with another cracker too. “that big red button is much bigger than yours” is a line that might be aimed at Trump, possibly, but the chorus is aimed squarely at the radio and fair play to them for it.
With every album you review of theirs you hope – even expect – it to be the one that sees them make it. The brilliant thing about Theia, though, is this: Theia would love the fame and fortune they should have, of course they would, but there is something way more important than that. Theia do this because they love it. They love rock n roll, and they love being in a band, and it is precisely that outlook, which sees them get better and better with each time they release a record.