Steel Train – Trampoline

Band: Steel Train
Album: Trampoline
Genre: Indie Rock
Label: Drive-Thru

1. I Feel Weird
2. Black Eye
3. Kill Monsters In The Rain
4. Dakota
5. Alone on the Sea
6. Firecracker
7. A Magazine
8. Diamonds in the Sky
9. Leave You Traveling
10. I’ve Let You Go
11. School is for Losers
12. Women I Belong To

In late 2007, New Jersey indie-rock act, Steel Train, released their second full length album, “Trampoline.” The sophomore album [Drive-Thru Records] was recorded after primary songwriter, Matt Goldman, left the band. Because of this, Trampoline features writing done mostly by front man, Jack Antonoff. The sound is dramatically different than Steel Train’s first release, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Trampoline starts out strongly with keyboard infused, I Feel Weird. This song sets up the listener for what ends up being 51 minutes of pure [and amazing] music. The lyrics, which range from topics like 9/11 to relationships with freckled girls, are arranged in a fashion that is sure to evoke some sort of emotion out of any listener over the age of 16.

Moving on to track two, Black Eye, the new style of Steel Train becomes even more clear. I might as well take the time now to say that I’ve had the opportunity to see Steel Train live four times. Black Eye has always been a crowd pleaser. Most recently, I saw their live show with The Spill Canvas. I brought my younger brother along and although he claims to not be too fond of the band’s sound, I caught him singing “ooo-woo-ooo,” while walking through the house the following morning. It’s catchy. It’s good.

My personal favorite song is Kill Monsters In The Rain. The vocals are toned down for the verses and get emotional during the chorus. With steady chord progressions being played on guitar and piano, and a solid percussive backbone, this song just has a good flow to it. The tambourine and over layered vocals bring back a familiar Steel Train “all for one attitude” type of sound that is characteristic of their first album.

The rest of the album follows suit of the first three songs. From upbeat tunes like Firecracker and Leave You Traveling to rock-out style solo songs like School Is For Losers, there’s not a single song that I felt the need [or urge] to hit that “skip” button during.

Trampoline proves to be a great follow-up album to Steel Train’s debut, “Twilight Tales From the Prairies of the Sun.” The succinct songwriting and mind-blowing musicianship displayed on Trampoline continues to impress me, even after multiple listenings. Steel Train is quickly rising up to be one of my summer favorites and I definitely recommend buying a copy of Trampoline. If you’re sick of hearing the “same song, different band,” type of music, you couldn’t find a better way to spend $10.

*Written By: Meaghan Allen*
GRADE: 9.0/10

James Shotwell
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