A well-groomed quartet operating out of New York, the Brandos mine all the right influences and come up with dramatic, workmanlike melodic rock, occasionally displaying flashes of moral and political conscience, on their first album. Though too much of the band’s material lacks real distinction, Honor Among Thieves is a generally impressive debut, with singer/guitarist/producer Dave Kincaid’s sharp, twangy vocals calling up visions of Roy Orbison and John Fogerty and the band’s pneumatic, radio-ready snap marking them as a natural for mainstream success. A knack for big, classically styled pop comes in handy on the grandiose “Hard Luck Runner” and the anti-war hit “Gettysburg,” as well as a memorable lonely ballad (“In My Dreams”) and a credible cover of Creedence’s “Walking on the Water.”
In the wake of Honor Among Thieves‘ surprise popularity, the Brandos were signed by Geffen but parted ways before releasing anything. A subsequent deal with RCA was marginally more enduring, yielding a finished album that was ultimately shelved. Developing a fraternal and cooperative bond with the Del-Lords (and a taste for Irish and Spanish culture), the band’s subsequent releases and focus were in Europe, where it met success in Holland and Germany.