Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Steadlür - s/t

The debut of Georgia-based rockers, Steadlür, is a mixed listen from start to finish. Littered with some memorable hooks here and there, some decent lead work from Tommy Steadlür and occasional flashes of good song writing, it’s a shame the whole album isn’t a more consistent effort. Mixing the sleazy motifs of 80s glam greats such as Mötley Crüe with a more modern rock sound, what Steadlür produce is a curious fusion of what once was and what now is a commercially acceptable form of rock. Starting off at full throttle, the album launches in with rocker ‘Poison’ and manages to keep the momentum going for a good few tracks. Of course, having any sort of glam-vibe in a band that seems to take pride in their image results in some utterly insipid lyrical rubbish – the kind of thing that seemed edgy in the 80s but now just sounds stupid. Singer Philip Steadlür makes so many repeated mentions of waking up in the beds of others, I’m more inclined to believe he’s actually homeless rather than promiscuous. Furthermore, with the chorus to ‘It’s Too Late’, we get a taste of some of the worse things to come later in the album – namely dull and not-so-heartfelt emotion and alternative-rock nonsense.

The album really begins to fall flat as soon as things are slowed down a peg. When they’re fast and furious, Steadlür are just about enjoyable if not very predictable. But the slow tracks are irredeemably terrible. Tracks like ‘Angel (On The Wrong Side Of Town)’ and ‘Time’ succeed in ruining what the album had achieved up until that point. One of the main problems with these cuts is Philip’s voice. Whilst he’s no Tom Keifer, Philip’s faux Whiskey-soaked voice, although somewhat forced, suits the more rock’n’roll tracks fine – sort of like a slightly whiny, low-budget Blackie Lawless. But without distorted guitars to supplement, the vocals become grating. Furthermore, the song-writing on ‘Angel’ is mind-numbingly dull and comes across as nothing more than a cheap attempt at a radio single - which would be fine if the song itself wasn’t utterly putrid. From the generic clean arpeggios in the background to the pathetically unmoving chorus, the song does little to keep the listener’s attention. Indeed, these songs straddle the line of generic alt-rock and emo so much that you’d be forgiven in thinking they were a tribute band to Bullet For My Valentine. Unfortunately, the album doesn’t really pick up from this dip, with the remaining tracks staying at a rather mediocre level, despite one or two enjoyable riffs or vocal lines here and there.

That’s not to say it’s all bad though, as Steadlür has some genuinely enjoyable songs. Tracks like the childishly charming ‘My Mom Hates Me’ will stick in your head with its thumping ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ styled rhythms and fantastically catchy, if not a tad idiotic chorus. In fact, the first half of the record ranges from tolerable to good, showing signs of the better side of Steadlür. There are some great riffs sprinkled throughout the album, such as the Zeppelin-esque flare of ‘Suffocate’s opener. There is however an overall tendency to slip in to rather bland filler music, laden with unimaginative melodies and ideas that have been worn to death. A fair few of the tracks feel like they could have used a lot more fleshing out and in some cases, should’ve been scrapped completely. Then Steadlür would be a strong and consistent debut. As it stands however, the album flutters between enjoyable and dull, with the former only just making up the majority. If you only listen to one album this year, it probably shouldn’t be this one.