Steel Train


Written by: DY on 03/02/2008 02:24:34

Steel Train has proved a bit of an eye opener for me. My initial thoughts upon listening to their sophomore record "Trampoline" for the first time led me to become apathetic about having to review it. However, there was one aspect that kept the flame of hope burning for me, and that was the almost magical catchiness of the record. Every song on this remarkably vibrant collection of rock n roll tinted, folk infused, indie-pop tunes is bursting with melody and choruses that will set up camp in your head and refuse to leave. All I can say is that I'm thankful for it, for it led me to explore this record further and discover the treasures which lie within it.

The theme of hope, is actually a theme integral to what Steel Train has created here. Though you may be hearing lyrics telling of troubles, you'll also be finding yourself dancing to them or walking with a spring in your step. Don't feel bad though, because this is exactly what the incredibly talented lyricist/vocalist Jack Antonoff was aiming for. The album brings an idea of finding hope in the hard times that life brings. Take for example, the glorious opener "I Feel Weird", with its lyrics telling a story of loss defied by the wonderfully upbeat music which carries them, or the way in which "Diamonds In The Sky" chooses to see death as merely being "on holiday forever". You'll notice that loss and death are topics covered in a majority of the songs, yet in each one from a charmingly different perspective.

Further to the band's merit, the album as a whole is incredibly strong. You won't be picking out any fillers here as each track is just as bright and refreshing as the last. Talented songwriting and the inclusion of subtle sound effects and additional instruments like the xylophone ("I Feel Weird") give each song a sense of completeness. Keyboardist Ranniar really lifts the songs, complementing the acoustic guitars perfectly. The latter songs are where Steel Train seem to express the more rock n roll aspects of their musical personalities. "I've Let You Go" features a welcome guitar solo in the bridge, whilst "School Is For Losers" brings hints of rebellion and a slightly harder edge to the music.

It's both surprising but endearing to hear how Antonoff can combine such personal lyrics like "When I was eighteen everything was alive, then the planes hit the towers, then she died and he died, a part of me disappeared six feet in the ground" and "I lost my brother to the bullets of your war" with such lively and cheerful music and this is what I think gives "Trampoline" its charm. The band's indie stylings and incredible ability to create melody make this one of the catchiest albums I've heard in a long time and the excellent production really serves to bring it alive. If you want some easy listening, a rainy day album or some music to help you through a tough time, don't think twice about pulling out the Trampoline.


Download: I Feel Weird, Firecracker, Dakota
For The Fans Of: The Format, LEVY, Kevin Devine
Listen: myspace

Release Date 16.10.2007

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