Steaming Satellites is an Austrian band that for the past ten years has been a major lure and adventure in their country’s music scene, underground and within stronger spotlights. The fact that it has taken their new and third album to find, like for so many others, our attention shows how little of the vast music world anyone has a hold on at any given time. We can only be thankful that the Salzburg band’s new self-titled release has found its way through to thrill ears and ignite the imagination though because it is simply bewitching.
Consisting of Max Borchardt (vocals/guitar), Emanuel Krimplstätter (keys/bass), Matthäus Weber (drums, programming, keys), and the recently joined Manfred Mader (bass), Steaming Satellites casts a sound bred from indie rock but welcoming to an array of flavours from blues, funk, soul, and electronic enterprise. Their previous pair of albums were strongly acclaimed propositions whilst live, with shows alongside bands such as Thin Lizzy, The Ravonettes, and Portugal. The Man amongst a great many, the band has earned a potent reputation for sound and performance. Now it is the turn of album three to stir things up and as for the umpteenth time the release lights our ears and revitalises emotions, the thought of Steaming Satellites becoming a ‘household’ name across numerous territories seems a thick possibility.
It opens with Together and a caress of acoustic guitar; a gentle coaxing aided by the immediately enticing and expressive tones of Borchardt. Soon stringed tempting wraps around ears and in turn a dark moody bassline strolls through the emerging colourful and creative landscape of the song. As keys jab and harmonies unite, the song blossoms into an infectious romance for the imagination and a swiftly open appetite for the release. As catchiness and shadow kissed drama similarly grows within the fascinating proposal, feet and hips become eager whilst thoughts only greedily consume the impressive entrance of the album.
Its indie rock swing is emulated in the following Rocket, though electro tempting is the first bait to engage ears to lead them into the military funk of the rhythms and the fiery dance of the guitar. Its air becomes a sultry breath at certain points, always returning to its lively endeavour though as varied spices burst from the festive heart of the track, again with feet and voice in eager involvement. Like The Flaming Lips trying on the psych rock of The Doors and the creative intimacy of Billy Momo, the song excites before departing, leaving lingering trails behind it though the fuzzy revelry of Unreal soon has attention all to itself thanks to jangly hooks and a deliciously roaming, slightly grouchy bassline which toys with the melodic radiance of the keys and harmonies. At its heart, the track is a funk bred romp but as already shown, Steaming Satellites never leave anything to settle into predictability, always keeping invention and surprises potently shimmering.
Both Honey and Restless Robot keep pleasure high and enterprise blooming, the first with its tangy Arctic Monkeys/Kings of Leon shuffle within a flirtatious smile and the second through a rhythmically dark and sonically sultry Portugal. The Man meets Futureheads tango. There are many other slithers of spice bringing a whisper of varied bands to the song, and album, but in the hands of Steaming Satellites all get turned inside out and honed into something unique and as here forcibly captivating.
Door is a heavier emotive croon which, without matching the successes before it, enthrals with its evocative textures and instinctive bounce aligning perfectly with the song’s moodier atmosphere and vocal heart whilst Circles slips into a bluesy Black Keys-esque character with stomping riffs, crisp rhythms, and spicy grooving. It too pleases without tapping up the lustier reactions found by earlier songs and definitely ignited by the outstanding Unfold straight after. The track is pure magnetism, a resourceful serenade of intimate vocals and emotive smouldering which just gets bigger and more persuasively spellbinding with every passing chord and melodic spice. It is as much an anthem as any raucous sing-a-long rocker, a compelling contagion of sixties keys, seventies melodic drama, and indie imagination.
Through the raunchier funk ‘n’ roll of Back And Forth, the feisty post punk meets indie/electro rock of Phone, and the dark White Stripes rock ‘n’ roll of Fill The Cup, album and listener continue to be fully involved in each other whilst Secret Desire employs a more restrained stride and melodic haze to its crystalline sparkle of keys and guitar to further engage the imagination. Tempered by the earthier tones of the bass and the grounded delivery of Borchardt, the track is the perfect blend of dark and light; maybe a slower burn on the passions than other treats within the album but another leaving long term hooks in its wake.
The album is completed by Move On, a gorgeous slice of lively balladry cored by ever impressing vocals and coloured by a virulent and imaginative tapestry of melodic and sonic colour. The track is a tremendous end to an outstanding release, an encounter which gets more commanding with every listen. It is hard to imagine Steaming Satellites being a relative secret from now on, but then as we said music is so big that the ease with which one can miss things is inescapable. Our suggestion is that band and album, is not another you allow to pass you by though.
The Steaming Satellites album is out from October 30th
Pete Ringmaster 29/10/2015
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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