For Fans Of
This debut LP from Sydney band Town Hall Steps has a pretty solid mix of pop-punk and electro-synth. After touring with local and international acts such as; Simple Plan, All American Rejects, Gyroscope, they’ve managed to begin to form a solid fanbase.
From my first listen to their record, I was pretty impressed. Not bad for a just-emerging band.
However, the electro-synths really vex me on this album. They are over-tuned and manage to deteriorate the songs overall quality instead of adding to it. Maybe I’m biased, but I tend to think that they might work better as a band and appeal to a larger audience if they drop the synth and work solely as a rock/pop-punk band – but I’m under no position to tell them how to write their music; only review it.
‘Disco’ is the strongest track on the album. Picked up by Austereo, Nova and Channel V, it has all the makings of a great commercial-pleasing song: an intro that makes you want to dance, a catchy hook and exuberance that never lags. It’s this energy that is this group’s biggest asset.
‘Your Secret Dance’ underlying guitars are the best part of the track; the vocals tend to strain throughout the chorus and the lyrics are practically cringe worthy in some parts, whilst ‘Still Alive’ has an undeniable 80’s vibe to it – which you are either going to embrace, or hate. I embraced it.
‘Crisis’ is misplaced and lost – featuring guest hip hop artist Torcha, it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the albums vibe, and is a song that should have been either discarded upon its inception or released later as a b-side. The hip hop verse combined with the intense chorus feels wrong, and left me feeling a little nauseous.
Closing the album with ‘Trouble Little Girl’ confused me a little – for a band that seems determined on showcasing their energy, why end the debut on a softer note, instead of “going out with a bang”? It’s a good song, pretty close to a classic rock ballad, and probably my favourite on the record.
I can definitely see where this band was trying to aim with this release – though they missed the mark a little. Although, it’s a little too commercial for my taste – I can say that there’s something there, and that these guys have some talent. Maybe with a little more work, their next release will be phenomenal.
2. Anywhere But Here
3. Holding On
4. Ask For More
5. The Direction
6. Still Alive
7. Your Secret Dance
11. Trouble Little Girl