Saturday, 12 April 2014

THE STEINBECKS - ALBUM REVIEW

The Steinbecks - Kick To Kick With The Steinbecks (Matinee Records) 
The Steinbecks - Kick To Kick

Release Date: 22nd April 2014

When I was a kid, I always wanted to live in a lighthouse like the one on the cover of the new album from Australian band the Steinbecks. Then I watched antipodean kids show Round The Twist which was, frankly, mental and I haven't looked at a lighthouse the same way twice. Still, I never judge an album by its cover (Christ, the White Album would be screwed if I did) so let's give these guys a fair listen. 'Homesickness' is the first track and it doesn't immediately grab you as the guitars are non-descript and the vocals seem naively high in the mix which puts me off. 'At Arkaroo Rock' has the same production quality issues so I'm going to try to ignore that and focus on the music which, in this case, is very much Crowded House-lite with some pleasing guitar twangs. On the third track, however, things get a little more interesting with the marvellously titled 'We Cannot Hope To Compete With Such Colours' which has a more lively riff and vocals with a nice delay effect throughout the song.

There's a bluesy, swampy feel to 'Below The Limen' which makes great use of some organ sounds while 'Semblance Of Hope' is a gentle ballad with some ill-advised vocal pitching towards the end. It sounds like I'm getting at the singer here but it frustrates me that nobody has had a word with him during the recording of this album. Ironically, on the next track, 'I, Radio', the singing is pretty much given away in preference of spoken word for a song that flirts with Elvis Costello and Talking Heads. 'Cold Little Bones' is a Mandolin centred melody that never really gathers the pace or emotion you hope it might but then 'Trying To Be Someone' pops in to life with a lively indie rhythm to get things moving again. 'Through The Curtain' is another fairly unremarkable indie track despite the commendable use of keys and penchant for stopping and starting the melody over and over again.

There then follows a slightly odd decision which is to have 'Burning Holes In The Sun', a four minute track with some nice riffs and rhythms taking centre stage for a change, followed by 'Burning Holes In The Sun (Reprise)', another four minutes of instrumental music based on the same motif - odd. 'Kick To Kick' finishes the album off but does nothing to change my mind on this as a collection of songs. There's nothing wrong with these songs, per se, it's just that none of them stick in the memory and the vocal performances don't make for enjoyable listening which is a shame as I was hoping for something good from the Aussies.

More information: http://thesteinbecks.net.au/


Buy The Album: matineerecordings.com

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