The debut album of this Oklahoma band was long-awaited by those who have seen them play live in the last few years. Horse Thief are a group of guys who graduated from the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma. It’s essentially an incubator of people wanting to be in a band. So, needless to say, the guys in Horse Thief are talented. It was no surprise that their debut was so well done with that pedigree.
They play a sort of psychedelic Americana. It’s a sound that brings to mind Local Natives, but Horse Thief are unique unto themselves. Lead singer Cameron Neal uses this album to wrestle with some of his own doubts and fears. Religion is a common topic on songs like “Devil”, and “Little Dust”. Neal is hard to pin down on any one conclusion as he flows between doubt and faith. Neal makes it seem as if he’s given up on God with lines like “I never grew up believing in the Bible/I’m sitting in the pew as I listen to the choir/I never heard the voice of my youth on fire.” But other songs have decidedly more faith in spiritual ideas like, “When you’re born you’re already dead/it takes a soul to wake your head.” While it doesn’t acknowledge the existence of God or of faith, it’s clear that Neal is wrestling with these ideas honestly. That’s all I ever ask of an artist is to be honest. If you’re honest in your art, then you make art worth exploring. Horse Thief has certainly done that with Fear In Bliss.