Steak

Slab City

Written by: AP on 09/01/2015 22:35:46

In an industry loaded to the brim with conspicuous artist monikers, it's surprising that something as blunt and simple as Steak still strikes me as peculiar. Debuting in 2013 with an EP entitled "Corned Beef Colossus", these Britons fully embrace taking the piss, presumably writing all of their music under the influence of an illicit haze so as to grasp at the very quintessence of stoner rock. That is, at least, what their latest outing and first full-length "Slab City" impresses upon me.

From opener "Coma" onwards, vapours are inhaled, fuzz pedals are floored and the groove is established for ten tracks of nebulous meandering through the genre's essentials: gruff singing of the sort that I feel gives a voice to beards (think Mastodon's Brent Hinds for a good reference), thick slabs of reiterative low end riffage and long, spaced out instrumental sections wavering like auroras over a bass heavy foundation of dusty Palm Desert scene influence. "Liquid Gold" as well as "Pisser" apply this formula to pleasing results, playing like some bastard brood of Black Sabbath and Fu Manchu, leaving plenty of room for both the hypnotic and the headbang invoking across their 6-to-7-minute running length.

There is an elusiveness to the proceedings here that fits Steak's genre of choice like a glove; an evasive allure not discovered until multiple listening sessions lay behind. Of distinctive standout moments or variety there is little - this I will readily concede. But the collusion of a raw, meaty production, bewitching riffs and lustrous psychedelics in songs like "Roadhead" and "Machine" (which, by the way, produce a clever contrast: the former a fast moving banger; the latter a deeply hallucinogenic odyssey into doom laden, blues ridden contemplation) is difficult to argue against. It's a cocktail best enjoyed in solitude, or at the very least in a state of mind mimicking the circumstances under which I suspect the album was written; music that pulls the listener into a kaleidoscopic journey through deserts and twilight.

That my train of thought winds into such metaphors is a reflection of the acidic and hypnotic nature of the record - and having that nature, it also presents a number of issues. "Slab City" will not satisfy those on the lookout for clear cut singles, nor for those looking to be challenged. On it Steak remain safely within the boundaries of the genre, wearing their influences proudly on their sleeve and never proposing to challenge for the throne. But what Steak purport to do, they do with conviction: "Slab City" offers solid, quality stoner rock for zoning the fuck out in a structure best enjoyed as one continuous piece of music.

7

Download: Liquid Gold, Pisser, Roadhead, Machine
For the fans of: Fu Manchu, Kyuss, The Midnight Ghost Train
Listen: Facebook

Release date 08.09.2014
Napalm Records

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