Friday, 16 July 2010

Steel Train

Jack Antonoff is in Fun. Jack Antonoff is in Steel Train. This makes me automatically very open to what Steel Train do. Even if I wasn't though, I reckon their new album 'Steel Train' would have won me over equally quickly.

For some reason, Steel Train, like Fun and The Format, appear to have some trouble getting the UK to listen much. I suppose the Scottish scene, which I'm guessing most of my readers are a part of, should understand this problem. Bands can be no.1 in the Scottish singles chart and play to one man and his dog in England the next week. I don't think Steel Train even have a deal over here.

Anyway, that's all not entirely important. What's important is the music, how awesome it is, and why you should listen. They put the whole of the album up to stream a few weeks ago - for free - at (and it's still there). Since that day, when Fun tweeted the link, I have been completely hooked.

'Bullet' is an absolutely stunning album opener. It's a quirky, modern 'Born To Run', perfect for singing along and punching the air to. From the second Jack opens his mouth, with the line "Fell in love in the back seat of your car", it's like... WOAH, he doesn't even get to sing in Fun.! It will make you want to open your window and jump around the room as if you just won the World Cup, even if you're still in your pyjamas and all the neighbours are watching.

The rest of the album is great too. They're a little bit Modest Mouse, a little bit Arcade Fire, a little bit Flaming Lips, a little bit Phoenix... It's a bit twee, it's a bit weird, it's got a tremendous sense of melody and is mostly upbeat. There's even a tiny bit of rap. The kind of cute indie boy rap that ought to never, ever work and never, ever be tried... but they pull it off.

The closing number, 'Fall Asleep' is a pretty little number than becomes consumed in distorted guitar as it twinkles and fades. It could have been some epic, drawn-out finale, but they keep it short and sweet in a way that makes the record even more incredibly, irresistibly more-ish than it started off. First time I listened to the album very quickly became about five listens in a day. CD was preordered within a week.

Anyway, seriously, go listen to it. It's an awesome pop record that adheres to all the rules of melody and musicality while playfully pushing the boundaries of their instruments' sounds. It's upbeat and intense like some sort of super-cute cross-breed puppy.

Steel Train may not be a new band, but they're certainly not a tired old one. If you've ever needed convincing that there is great music out there that the UK foolishly ignores, here it is.

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