The Thieves -- brothers Hal Stokes (guitar) and Sam Stokes (bass) plus Jamie Dawson (drums) -- formed in Oxford, England, in 1999, and started snatching the British spotlight with their backward-reaching but tuneful rock soon after. Local shows and a self-produced demo prompted the BBC to come calling by the early 2000s, the catalyst for what the band thought would be a career-boosting move to California. But the Thieves didn't arrive in the U.S. riding a crest of popularity enormous enough to land them on the lips of more than a handful of stateside rock scenesters, and it was only after stealing away to a home studio north of Los Angeles and honing its sound that the trio emerged with a disc to advance its classic rock cause.
White Line, a four-track EP produced by fellow Brit Chris Brown (Radiohead, Muse), was released in late 2004; a spate of respectable reviews -- many of them making much of the act's obvious debts to such stalwarts as the Who, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd -- followed. From there came a flurry of tours, including a make-or-break appearance at the annual South by Southwest showcase in spring of 2005. Encouraged by the Yanks' embrace of their power chord-propelled sound, the Thieves returned to the studio, again with Brown at the helm, in 2005. Tales from the White Line, released in October of that year on the independent Liquor and Poker label, marked the Thieves' debut full-length.