Listen Like Thieves
|Listen Like Thieves|
|Studio album by|
|Released||14 October 1985|
|Studio||Rhinoceros Studios, Sydney|
|Genre||New wave, alternative rock|
|Label||Atlantic, Mercury, WEA|
|Singles from Listen Like Thieves|
Listen Like Thieves is the fifth studio album by the Australian rock band INXS. It was released on 14 October 1985. It spent two weeks at number one on the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart. Considered an international breakthrough album for the band, it peaked at No. 11 on the United States Billboard 200, No. 24 on the Canadian RPM 100 Albums and top 50 in the United Kingdom.
The album featured the band's first top 5 single in the U.S., "What You Need", and it also won the group the Countdown Music and Video Award for 'Best Video' with that single, a sign of the critical acclaim that INXS had achieved. Listen Like Thieves also marks the beginning of the group's off-and-on alliance with producer Chris Thomas.
Listen Like Thieves is the fifth studio album by INXS. The Sydney-based group had formed in 1977 by the three Fariss brothers: Andrew on guitar and keyboards, Jon on percussion and drums, and Tim on guitar, along with Garry Gary Beers on bass guitar, Michael Hutchence as lead vocalist, and Kirk Pengilly on guitar, saxophone, and vocals. Their previous album, The Swing (April 1984), had local chart success peaking at number one on the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart and No. 6 in New Zealand. Although appearing on international charts – No. 52 on United States Billboard 200, and No. 27 on the Canadian RPM 100 Albums – INXS wanted to improve their worldwide impact.
After recording their last album in New York and Oxfordshire, they returned to Sydney where they worked with Chris Thomas (Sex Pistols, Pretenders, Roxy Music, Elton John) producing at Rhinoceros Studios.
Recording and production
Listen Like Thieves was recorded over a three-month period at the Rhinoceros studio in Sydney, NSW, Australia. Many of the album's songs were written by the song writing duo of vocalist Hutchence and multi-instrumentalist Farriss. As production came close to completion, Thomas told the band that the album was lacking a crucial hit single, so the band members left the studio having just a few days to come up with one last song. "Chris Thomas told us there was still no 'hit'", Farriss later recalled. "We left the studio that night knowing we had one day left and we had to deliver a 'hit'. Talk about pressure." Both Hutchence and Farriss searched through the demos that Farriss had composed throughout the album's production. Out of the remaining demos, Thomas persuaded the duo to focus on one particular demo titled "Funk Song no 13". "It was great. I thought, 'I could listen to that groove for 10 minutes!' I said, 'Let's work with that groove'", said Thomas. INXS spent the next two days working on the demo track, which would eventually turn out to be the hit single "What You Need", giving the band their first top 5 hit in the U.S.
|Rolling Stone (1985)||(favorable)|
|Rolling Stone (2004)|||
AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted that with Listen Like Thieves the band "completes its transition into an excellent rock & roll singles band". However "the new configuration only works for three songs", which were its first three singles, "What You Need", "Listen Like Thieves" and "Kiss the Dirt (Falling Down the Mountain)". Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, opined that it had "a much harder sound than heard on previous INXS records, but somehow it lacked the pop smarts that had made The Swing so appealing".
Rolling Stone's Parke Puterbaugh felt the group were "going for the jugular – or is that the groin?" and with Thomas they "forge an unlikely union between the sonic extremism of Led Zeppelin-style crunch rock and the step-lively beat of disco" such that the album "rocks with passion and seals the deal with a backbeat that'll blackmail your feet".
|1.||"What You Need"||3:35|
|2.||"Listen Like Thieves" (Garry Gary Beers, A. Farriss, Jon Farriss, Tim Farriss, Hutchence, Kirk Pengilly)||3:46|
|3.||"Kiss the Dirt (Falling Down the Mountain)"||3:56|
|4.||"Shine Like It Does"||3:05|
|5.||"Good + Bad Times" (Hutchence, Pengilly)||2:46|
|6.||"Biting Bullets" (Hutchence, Pengilly)||2:49|
|7.||"This Time" (A. Farriss)||3:11|
|8.||"Three Sisters (Instrumental)" (T. Farriss)||2:27|
|10.||"One x One"||3:05|
|11.||"Red Red Sun" (A. Farriss, J. Farriss)||3:32|
Personnel as listed in the album's liner notes are:
Charts and certifications
|Australia||Kent Music Report||1||AUS: 4× Platinum|
|Canada||RPM 100 Albums||24|
|New Zealand||Recorded Music NZ||4||NZ: Platinum|
|United Kingdom||Official Charts Company||46|
|United States||Billboard 200||11||US: 2× Platinum|
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||22|
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||14|
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- "The ARIA Albums Chart – 03/03/2014 (from The ARIA Australian Top 50 Albums)". Wayback Machine (original document published by ARIA). Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
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- Hung, Steffen. "INXS – Listen Like Thieves" (in German). hitparade.ch (Swiss Hitparade). Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 9 March 2014.
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- Kent 1993, p. 438