(PB​:​089) The Steinbecks: Kick to kick with The Steinbecks (free rare 7" for first 50 CD orders)

by Popboomerang

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about

Popboomerang is proud to release the long anticipated new album by The Steinbecks, the central Victorian pop group led by former Sugargliders Josh and Joel Meadows.

The Steinbecks emerged from the ashes of The Sugargliders after the ’gliders had released ten 7” singles, including six for legendary English label Sarah Records. The Meadows brothers write emotionally honest pop songs about the world as they experience it. They record them with multi-instrumentalists Matt Sigley (Earthmen, Daytime Frequency), Joseph Bromley, and Jerry Rinse.

Kick to kick with The Steinbecks is the band’s first album since 2007’s Far from the Madding Crowd.

Kick to kick, song by song

1. ‘Homesickness’ is a blast of pure guitar pop, but it is at the same time unsettling, due to the odd timing and the lyrics, which chart the yearning for a place/moment/thing that cannot be recovered: “And we ask, why does this light seem wrong? And where’s the shiver in that song? And whence the soul for which mine longs?”

2. ‘At Arkaroo Rock’ was released as a 7” single in mid-2013. Described by ‘In with these times, in spite of these times’ as “a song about how we all stand so small when we set ourselves against the long passage of time” and as displaying “a dizzying level of exquisiteness”, the lyrics link the layers of a landscape’s history with the layers of a relationship. The lushest track on the album.

3. Over a searing electric guitar riff that is the backbone of ‘We cannot hope to compete with such colours’ Joel contemplates the fabric of the universe as he examines a tiny grain of sand: “inside which is everything and nothing / inside which is the DNA of stars…”

4. ‘Blow the limen’ has a touch of Abbey Road or Odessey & Oracle with its intricate bassline and whirring Vox Continental organ. Even the words could have come from the late ’60s, as the ’becks urge the listener to explore subliminal thoughts and re-connect with the natural world.

5. In ‘Semblance of hope’, the album’s most fragile three minutes, Joel breathes a sigh of relief over his narrow escape from suburbia (“you could have taken my best years”) and in falsetto begs his sweetheart to “stay with me and watch while the sun sets its gold at the hillside”. A slow, sparse, stunning ballad.

6. Part list song, part social commentary, part soapbox rant, ‘I, radio’ is ultimately a passionate love song to the wireless. Joel talks/sings/shouts about his childhood experiences of the radio, the thrill of Top 40, the discovery of underground radio and the bands that changed his life.

7. ‘Cold little bones’ is all woody and organic – mandolin, double bass, melodica and unaffected vocals tread the twisted pathways the mind wanders while waiting too long from someone to come home.

8. ‘Trying to be someone’, written by drummer Bromley, is a driving pop song that wouldn’t have been out of place on the Smith’s Meat is Murder. As electric guitars jangle, then riff, then nearly spiral out of control, Josh sings of isolation, rejection and the search for identity and authenticity.

9. On ‘Through the curtain’ Matt Sigley weaves an irresistible bassline and Joel has a go at Flamenco guitar playing, as he used to on occasion in The Sugargliders. The song’s message? When romance lets you down you can always fall back on the romance of music.

10. On ‘Burning holes in the sun’ Matt Sigley and Jerry Rinse lock into a bass and drum groove that nods to Neu!, but Joel’s guitar solo owes more to Ace Frehley than indie influences. Meanwhile Josh agonises over “watching Bathsheba and catching fear”. Somehow it all comes together in a tight, infectious, memorable track.

11. ‘Burning holes (reprise)’ takes some of the same lyrics as the previous song, but sets them to a completely different piece of music. The listener is transported to an after-midnight ’60s club where the band has settled into a slow groove and a Spanish guitarist is lazily riffing from the stage.

12. The title track and album closer, ‘Kick to kick’, is the Meadows brothers’ tribute to a complicated, much-loved cousin, who died too young and left a lasting impression. Electric guitar pop in the vein of the Lemonheads, Blake Babies and Teenage Fanclub.

credits

released April 1, 2014

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Popboomerang Australia

Australian music label founded by Scott Thurling and releasing its first CD in 2002 with over 80 recordings to date.

Specialising in melodic pop, jangle, folk and rock and predominantly working with Australian bands with the aim to building their careers locally & internationally.

Artists include Skipping Girl Vinegar, Georgia Fields, The Aerial Maps, Celadore, Bon Scotts, Tamas Wells & Tim Reid
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