Take some of The Format’s hard-rocking power-pop. Add a bit of fun.’s over-the-top flair. While you’re at it, throw in U2’s soaring anthems and The Hush Sound’s consistent catchiness.
You know what? It might be better for you to just listen to a few songs. Because despite its many derivatives, Steel Train is a pretty darn unique band. And they’re a pretty darn fantastic band, too.
The five-piece group’s best album, Trampoline, was released way back in 2007, and is loaded with non-stop goodness, tracks ranging from 5-minute plus epics to quick, moments of pop brilliance (you’ll be “ooo-ing” along with “Firecracker” by the time the song wraps up). So what better way to demonstrate the band’s versatility than listen to a couple of these songs?
The first, album opener “I Feel Weird,” is the quick fix. Balancing out the sugary-sweet guitars and bells that ring the song along are harsh, frenetic vocals from lead singer Jack Antonoff (also a member of PMA fave fun.). The song, while immediately bouncy and jubilant, also has a surprising amount of emotional depth to it once the lyrics are given a closer look: “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, million miles in the sky a fire burns, a fire burns, a fire burns and it is mine.” Still, the sing-along “na nas” and “oh ohs” help to keep the track an uplifting one.
“Alone on the Sea” is Steel Train’s epic, as the U2 influences are heard right away with the song’s wailing opening guitars. About midway through the 7-minute track, Antonoff’s voice drowns out the overwhelming layers of sound, as he lets us know that he is “lonely like a sailor, on the sea.” And as he proceeds to chant the song’s titular refrain while the band’s instrumentals build under him, it’s tough to avoid hearing a pretty great Win Butler imitation.
But here I go again, comparing Steel Train to other bands. And it’s really a shame, because as those who have listened to Trampoline in full know, this group really is completely original and creative. Their live show (a review coming later) will only make you fall in love with them more, but for now, check out these tracks, and get into this band. You won’t regret it.