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Album Review: Steel Train - Steel Train

Along with Rx Bandits, Steel Train were the odd one’s out on the early to mid noughties Drive Thru roster. However like those damn Bandits (and the majority of other Drive Thru bands still active) they’ve jumped ship and struck out on their own, choosing to self release this, their third full length.

Musically, this is definitely Steel Train at their most polished and ambitious. No sooner have they kicked off with the stomping ‘Bullet’, all Tegan and Sara melodies and E-Street Band orchestration, than they immediately switch it up with the camp broadway-pop of ‘Turnpike Gates’.

Without wishing to offend or mislead, there is a definite broadway feel throughout this album, much in the same way as Fun’s ‘Aim & Ignite’. There’s the down tempo songs for the sad parts, such as ‘You & I Undercover’ which builds from a melancholy ballad into breath taking crescendo. Then there’s the jaunty rocker in ‘The Speedway Motor Races Club’ which is cracking pop song augmented by succinct use of organs and synths. Things naturally all comes to a head at the end in the form of the reflective and absolutely gorgeous ‘Fall Asleep’. You can almost see the end credits scrolling down the screen during the pizzicato strings of it’s delicate outro.

The production is perfectly pitched. Rather than reserve specific instrumentation for particular songs, the liberal use of glockenspiel, honky-tonk piano and glorious string arrangements make the album sound cohesive and full rather than making any one individual element sound gimmicky or tacked on.

This is a definite record of class. Even when you strip away all the orchestrated pomp the songs still stand up on their own which allows Steel Train to build upon these solid foundations and lovingly craft a record of huge pop bombast but with a tender and melancholy soul.


'Steel Train' by Steel Train will be released on June 29th through Terrible Thrills.

Steel Train on MySpace, Twitter and Facebook.
Steel Train Official Website

Barney Dufton

Alter The Press!