Whether it’s as a direct reaction to the current crop of lyrically overwrought singer-songwriters/bands, or as an expression of something new and artistically refreshing, a new wave of instrumental music is taking hold in Dublin.
Amongst the better practitioners of this difficult genre are Steerage, who have just released their debut e.p –Smash them all to bits
I say ‘difficult’ genre, because, like it or not, rock music has to a large extent always been based around lyricism, even when coupled with outstanding musicianship. Even in the case of the most semi-illiterate pop tunes out there, people have always searched for a vocal hook to hang their interest on.
What stands in Steerage’s favour is a keen ear for melody and tunes. The music is beautiful and intricate, but not for the sake of demonstrating a technical prowess. You can tap your foot to these tunes. The self-indulgence often all-too painfully present with musos is thankfully absent here.
Opening track No two strings are the same, is light, breezy, and a perfect introduction to the e.p. It’s immediately engaging, and perfectly timed like a classic pop tune. From there it’s into Is this thing on which steers in several different directions, with time changes galore – all handled smoothly – directing the imagination left, right and centre. One trip aroun the sun is indeed trippy to start with, building gently through its 5.08 min to an epic crescendo. Fans of Led Zep and Pink Floyd will love it, though for me it was just the wrong side of the interesting line.Cyrus Kleever finishes off the e.p in style – a thoughful melodic piece. It holds up Steerage’s strong points – the creation of imaginative and engaging music – without pretension.