Steve Steele - The Expat
Steve Steele appears to have found his voice. Off the back of an EP he admits freely to not liking, Steele says he has spent the last two years working on his singing and "not feeling at home in Houston", which (in terms of this record) is a very good thing. The theme of The Expat is disconnection, homesickness, being out of place and is broached effortlessly through a progressive take on classic rock sound which connects quite well, ironically enough.
Steele's voice is fantastic - soulful, deep and engrossing, and goes a long way to making the so-so lyrics into an emotionally affecting story. The album manages to grab quite a few intense and complex issues by their metaphorical balls but never becomes hard to follow, on the condition that you let it swallow you. Not entirely difficult - it's hard not to be drawn in. Tracks such as the intricate 'Godwin Park' and the Queens Of The Stone Age homage 'Revelation On The Radio' could have been composed by Bowie, but they have a harder edge and a modern flavour both intriguing and candid.
It's innovative, for sure. If detective noir were to be made into music, The Expat would be it. Sure, there are some Chicago-accented mob cliches, and you know how it's gonna play out in the end, but it's the getting there that's important.
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