The reasons why… the artist who is the album of my year… are my album of the year… are the reasons that Steel Train isn’t. It was a close call because lyrically this album is incredible and musically it’s as refreshing as vimto in the summer but not having the option of seeing them live and only discovering them through seeing fun in Maymeant it lacked the influence over my year that it could easily have had, any other year it might have. However make no mistake, this album is a powerhouse.
Bullet is not everything a pop song or a rock song a 60’s disco throwback song should be but what every song should be and what every Steel Train song is. A kick start worthy of the Foo Fighters and Jack Antonoff’s trademark, to those cool enough to be that familiar, impassioned delivery of lyrics that hit home like few other bands manage. The rhythmic changes in this song are as powerful as Baraka, carrying and setting the tone for a true heavyweight.
Turnpike Ghost is to Steel Train what a weather map is to a meteorologist. Where they would point at the green screen and say “this, is weather” the album points to this track and says, “THIS is Steel Train”. What I find so refreshing about this band is they know what they are, able to capture what is quintessentially their sound in every song. there’s a reason why these aren’t reserved for fun because they’re individual, unique, journeying and resoundingly meaningful.
Soldier in the army once more encompasses everything that make ST and the album brilliant, every musical and vocal flourish maintaining the brilliance that is swathed over each track. You get the impression that every single well told story here is drawn from personal life experience and whether or not is the case, he makes each one sound impossibly convincing.
I never really do track by track reviews but there are times when it feels suitable to go to pains to lay out why every song is fabulous… I do apologise but I am running out of superlatives.Touch me bad experiments more than any other track with their sound, bringing in keys that while noticeable don’t seem to alter the soul of their sound which of course is Antonoff’s almost Savant understanding of vocal dynamism coupled with his retro guitar playing and guiding rhythm that all come together to make one hell of a musical pie.
Children of the 90s is probably the other track I would highlight that gives you the best flavour of the band but like I say this album really is flawless. That is to say, it is without flaws. Zero flaws.
One thing that may go unnoticed upon listening to this album is how short each track is, you’d be forgiven for feeling they were each 5-6 minutes long the amount that is crammed into them. Many artists would eke that out as much as possible and unfortunately a lot do but here you get the feeling that they are genuinely excited to get this music out there and want to get as much of it out as possible. Do bear in mind their last album Trampoline is already considered as indie great so there’s no reason to hold back on enthusiasm there’s been a lot and there’s a lot to come.