When I began listening The Steelwells first EP, Shallow on the Draft I fell for its somber songs and melancholy melodies – what I like to call heartbreak delicious. And now on their new live EP, Cool Kids, the guys have found another side to their sound with a collection of four songs that offer upbeat tempos and hopeful lyrics. Here’s a quick run down of the tunes and what I think makes this band and their music so special:
Upon first listen Cool Kids introduces listeners to the signature keyboard and synth elements from Billy Kim which permeate the EP and live shows. This pop component is instantly engaging and doesn’t detract from the heartfelt songs. Tight percussion from John Bradley on drums adds to the soundscape with everything from soft taps to big boisterous rhythms. One major highlight of the music is singer Joey Winter’s voice- full of conviction and strength along with his enthusiasm on (and off) stage. On my favorite tune “Isolabella” Winter’s words seem to challenge the melancholy of the past. As the song builds in its intensity and passion the core lines “Oh no, what is this sorrow you keep holding? I know we’ve got to let it go, just let it go.” are repeated, driving home the point. The opening song, “Hands Up” offers another take on this uplifting Steelwells’ sound. The solid bass line from Robbie Gullage anchors this tune while Kim’s synth and keys echo around Winter’s vocals. A great way to start the EP and anyone’s journey into The Steelwells music.
Andrew Eapen’s guitar takes a bit of a backseat on this EP but his role in the band technically, and otherwise, is essential. His backing harmonies on many songs have an awesome chemistry with Winter’s voice. Eapen also mixed the EP himself- quite well I might add. He also gives an energy that is welcoming and honest- truth-be-told all five members of this group share that vibe.
This 4-track collection is just a taste of The Steelwells, but hopefully the kind that whets your appetite for more. These guys are incredibly hard-working, down-to-earth and dedicated to creating good music. If the EP tickles your fancy keep up with them online and make sure to catch them live.