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Record Thieves' 'Dark Hearts' Offers a New Sound From the Denver Punk Band

Record Thieves
Record Thieves Kate Rose
When Jim Wilcox and Allen White of Denver band Record Thieves were writing songs for what was intended to be an EP, the song “Dark Hearts” proved to be a challenge. Although it remains within the confines of the band’s pop-punk-influenced style, the song, which releases as a single on Friday, December 2, was much faster and more aggressive — more like a skate-punk song from the ’90s.

“We don’t technically write a lot of fast stuff like that,” Wilcox says. “Allen and I fall more into a rock-driven, pop-punk style. When we write these songs, we definitely go back and forth on a lot of ideas and try different things.”

"Dark Hearts" follows previous singles “Eyelids” and “Fault Lines,” and Wilcox says the three songs were the best to come out of a batch of six or seven that he and White composed at Wilcox’s mountain studio. Once singer Mike Waterhouse added his lyrics, the trio knew they had something good.

“We figured it was probably going to be a little while before we could get another full-length out,” Wilcox says. “We wrote six or seven songs. When it came down to it, there were only three of them that we were really happy with.”

Wilcox adds that he and White generally write the music that will become Record Thieves songs. White, who is a fan of very fast punk acts such as Strung Out, will sometimes pull a faster song out of his sleeve, which Wilcox will usually protest. (He lost this time.)

“I’ve just played what I call double-time fast punk for so many years that I’m kind of burned out on it,” says Wilcox, formerly of Arizona punk band Authority Zero. “If we do that once in a while, I’m cool with it. I’m personally not a huge fan of it anymore.”

He adds that the two have no ego about the music they bring to the table, so they are perfectly comfortable offering criticism of each other’s contributions. He can’t recall them ever arguing.

“We don’t get attached to anything, which is huge,” he says. “Having that type of relationship with somebody when it comes to writing music makes the process easier, which in turn makes it more fun. It reflects in the songwriting.”

The band is currently working on a followup to its debut full-length, Wasting Time, released in 2020. Wilcox and Allen have about fourteen or fifteen songs written — they don’t hate five to seven of them — and Wilcox sees the band’s style continuing to shift away from its Face to Face- and Millencolin-influenced roots. He sees the new songs as taking more cues from Hot Water Music, the Draft and the Flatliners, and he's excited to explore the new territory.

“These days, we are really concentrating more on melody and just really getting more creative,” he says. “I want to become a better songwriter with every song, every album that we do. … We’ve been writing stuff that we can’t wait for people to hear.”

When Record Thieves released Wasting Time, its first full-length album, in late 2020, one would have been hard-pressed to find any live shows because of the COVID pandemic. It was a strange time to have a debut album out in the world, but the five-piece punk outfit weathered the storm, more or less.

Record Thieves — the lineup also includes Chad Gilbert and Matt Zimmerschied — has opened for acts such as Lagwagon and Fuel, Wilcox says, but the band has also taken time to play more meaningful shows, including a recent benefit for former Reno Divorce bassist Johnny Crow, who passed away earlier this year. The group is slated to play Pouzza Fest in Montreal next year.

“We’ve been doing shows here and there, nothing too crazy,” says Wilcox. “We’ve been enjoying being able to play out again, living the normal band lifestyle.”

“Dark Hearts,” out Friday, December 2, on major streaming platforms, is available to pre-order.
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