CD Review: Steel Train / Steel Train
Reviewed by: Sally Feller
Tracklisting:.G. BuTracklisting:rning in
You and I Undercover
You are Dangerous
S.O.G. Burning in Hell
Touch Me Bad
Children of the 90’s (I’m Not the Same)
Soldier in the Army
The Speedway Motor Racers Club
Steel Train has had a busy year so far, opening for Tegan and Sara, The Fray, playing at Coachella, and planning their first headlining tour in the U.S. (check out tour dates here). Top that off with a brand new album releasing on June 29th and it’s safe to say the guys have had a stellar 2010.
On their self-titled album the track “Fall Asleep,” features intelligent lyrics and a beautiful piano melody that pulls the vocals together to create an intellectual daydream. Violins give off a distinct sense of the graduation song, which works nicely with the sort of coming of age theme of the lyrics. The song fits in perfectly with the fans of The Fray, with what I would say is a much more interesting, classical sound, but in the same vein musically.
“S.O.G. Burning in Hell” is a summery little song with upbeat sing-a-long style vocals and light, crisp guitars, energetic drums, and catchy, hip-shaking percussion…it’s possible that I’m having a couch-dance party right now as I’m reviewing it. This is certainly one of my favorites on the album.
“Touch Me Bad” starts off sounding like an Atari game then quickly transfers over to a bouncy Disney Channel-style song (you know, if Disney were a little bit edgy…Disney for 16-18 year olds, perhaps). Is this a good thing? Well, I suppose it depends on your mood; it certainly has a happy, optimistic sound that could restore energy after a long day, or annoy the shit out of you if you were trying to chill out after said day. Today happens to be of the latter sort for me, so I’ll try and be fair and say, “totally depends on your mood!”
“Turnpike Ghost,” reminds listeners of Modest Mouse mixed up with Of Montreal, with off-kilter vocals and some fun power-choruses. This super high-energy song is followed up by “You and I Undercover,” a melancholic song happily infused with hope and light. I could absolutely see this song on an indie romance movie soundtrack—think “(500) Days of Summer.”
A few songs on the album—“Behavior” and “Bloody Lips” seem a bit light compared to the others, in terms of both lyrics and music. The steam that was built up by the rest of the album was slowly let out with these two and I found myself decidedly less enthusiastic about what was to come. Luckily, these are complimented with songs like “Bullet,” strangely reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen and, yes, I’ll say it…Bob Seger. This throwback works oddly well with the rest of the album and combines with the more modern-sound of the vocals to create a comprehensive, multi-layered pop album.
Overall, Steel Train’s new record consists of sunshiny pop, one shouldn’t call it bubblegum though, I’d like to refer to it as “Pop Rocks” music – pop with just a little pleasant jolt of sensory stimulation. However, do feel free to listen to this album while ingesting carbonated beverages and I promise that your stomach will not explode (This statement is not based on medical tests, nor is it supported by the FDA. Please note that TheyWillRockYou suggests consulting a doctor before listening to any new albums).