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Most Thieves’ album boosts without brooding

He says he wants his songs to be the sound of someone walking away from a car crash.

“There’s a level of survival to them,” explains Erich Koch, singer-guitarist for ascendant Vegas rockers Most Thieves.

It’s early on a recent Friday morning, and Koch has just sat down with some coffee and his guitar, ready to get back to work just a day after returning from a quick United Kingdom tour (more on that later).

Earlier in the week, Most Thieves dropped their debut, “Unnecessary Maps,” roughly a year and a half after forming.

As Koch alluded to, it’s an album posited on uplift, both in sentiment and sonics.

Nearly every tune is as stirring as the lyrics are meant to be, with themes of perseverance and hope brought to life musically in the form of grand crescendos of guitar, impassioned, heart-in-the-throat vocals and singalong choruses that radiate their surroundings like the sun suddenly peeking out from behind clouds.

It’s an album meant to both invigorate and soothe, which can be harder to pull off than it sounds: Try too hard to inspire, and you risk numbing listeners with hang-in-there, you-can-do-it platitudes befitting of Hallmark cards and Tim Tebow postgame press conferences.

But, earnest and well-crafted, “Unnecessary Maps” registers more as a reassuring record than a maudlin one.

“I don’t mind the mountains we climb,” Koch sings on “Glacial Pace,” and this album seems intended as a soundtrack for said journey, a series of life lessons set to a beat.

“A lot of these songs were written to my 7-year-old son,” Koch says. “When you’re trying to bring him up and make sure he turns into a good person, that kind of falls into the songwriting, too.”

The release of “Maps” marks the culmination of a fast-paced year for this bunch. Last September, the band first toured the U.K. as the openers for Big Talk, the side project of Killers drummer Ronnie Vannucci. Most Thieves have several connections to the Killers: Drummer Jason Whited has served as Vannucci’s drum tech, guitarist Bobby Lee Parker has worked for Killers guitarist Dave Keuning and Killers bassist Mark Stoermer plays on several tracks on “Maps.”

Like the Killers, Most Thieves, rounded out by bassist Trevor Hurley and keyboardist Eric Rickey, have initially found as much favor among British fans as their American counterparts.

“England kind of has become a second home for us musically,” Koch says. “Maybe there’s a similarity in the way that a lot of those people think about music and the way that we think about it. It did seem to work right away over there.”

Over here, it’s working pretty well, too.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com
or 702-383-0476.

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