Steel Train – Steel Train

January 01, 1970

(Terrible Thrills)


In today’s homogenized pop environment even the best bands
with potential for mass appeal sometimes have a difficult time separating
themselves from the pack. After all, it’s not always easy to make music that’s
easily accessible while also tossing out the type of tunes that can suggest a
unique niche. Steel Train have always been burdened by this disparity; an
accomplished outfit, they’ve nevertheless failed to make their mark as a band
that has something different to say. Consequently, their new self-titled
release successfully shores up their strengths but fails to tackle new ground,
although their versatility and approach ought to garner them kudos for trying.
After all, they may retrace familiar terrain, but it doesn’t mean they’re
innocuous. Their early EP, 1969,
featuring cover songs from that crucial year by Creedence, CSN, Bowie and Bob
Marley, proved they had the right instincts, at least so far as their master


Not surprisingly then, their ambitious inclinations seize
control, and while the influences may be less reliable, Steel Train’s ability
to broaden their base still serves them well. They enter the stadium rock arena
by exerting some fist pumping inducement, be it the anthemic opener “Bullet,”
the instantly assertive “S.O.G. Burning in Hell” or the rowdy, rambunctious
rallying cry of “Children of the 90’s (I’m Not the Same).”  The Hold Steady, Green Day, Gaslight Anthem,
even Springsteen’s E Street Band, are all referenced here, given the rousing
sentiments both invoked and incited. Granted, genuine conviction and dedication
can’t always be measured reliably, and much of the verbosity Steel Train exudes
seems strictly in service to the songs. However, they do deliver convincingly,
enough to qualify this latest outing as a mighty formidable contender.


Standout Tracks: “Bullet,” “Children of the 90’s (I’m Not the Same),” “Touch Me Bad” LEE


Leave a Reply