Review: Steel Train – Steel Train

Steel Train - Steel Train

Man it must be nice to be Jack Antonoff. Between a dalliance with Scarlett Johanssen and cult-like status in the super group Fun, the New York City-based frontman is also the brain trust behind burgeoning indie juggernauts Steel Train. Veteran performers of Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Coachella the quintet are a much-praised, must-see live act who made a sizable dent with their 2007 full-length Trampoline. This year’s self-titled follow-up is a harmonic collection of 12 veritable anthems. Soaring, transcendent and deeply felt, it’s as good a disc as any released this year.

The band sets the tone exquisitely on the triumphant opening number “Bullet,” a tightly packed, four-minute pop masterpiece. Anchored by Antonoff’s confident vocals, its rising chorus is arguably one of 2010’s finest moments. If album openers are supposed to be introductory statements, then Steel Train has indeed made the declaration of the year. For those still not on the bandwagon, it’s time to step on and start taking this band seriously.

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Review: Steel Train – Trampoline

Steel Train - Trampoline

So this album came out two months ago. Apologies. No seriously, I’m really sorry. What this and other reviews should tell you is that I pace myself in analyzing albums. Perhaps too much so. There’s something so therapeutic about it, though. Waking up every morning, seeing a CD in your “To Review…” stack that has been there for much more than a month, popping it in, then telling yourself you’ll get to reviewing it tomorrow. Oh Trampoline — I will miss thee. Your simple cover that greeted me each time with memories of wasted hours at all those state fairs in and around October, attempting to impress some girl by making fun of carnies from afar and buying her lukewarm corn-dogs. Your rejuvenated peppiness (comparatively — Twilight Tales…) that virtually transforms my room in to a suburban backyard someplace, where the first day of spring is being celebrated by cannonballs in a pool and burgers straight off the grill. Oh, cheese on mine please!

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