Album Review: Steady Hands – Truth In Comedy

  • Peter Hough posted
  • Reviews

Steady Hands

Truth In Comedy - Lame-O Records

A self-described social club orbiting founding member and leader Sean Huber of Modern Baseball, Steady Hands are aptly named: this is likely to be one of the most accomplished exhibitions of songcraft you’re likely to encounter this year. Technically a debut album, this work accommodates an aggregation of awesome collective talent – musically, lyrically and in terms or arrangement there is so much to admire it almost eclipses the songs themselves. Almost.

In these days of fragmented, pick and mix media where every song stands alone and is ready to be shuffled, it is refreshing to listen to an album where clearly some careful thought has gone into sequencing and the overall experience of listening to an album as a single piece of work.

Lyrically, strength derives from an emphasis on honest storytelling. Angsty openers 40x and No More Funerals are snapshots of a scrapbook full of Americana and New Tattoo and Saint Lucas have an affecting confessional tone, the latter picking up the tempo and leading into the jaunty free single Indifferent Belushi, released as a taster for the album.  There’s a change of pace into Drop D and Dance Beats which is an anthemic call back to the lost adventures of youth. It’s a raw and beautiful song and the natural mid-point of the collection. Old House is a solo guitar outing, that touch of reverb evoking Billy Bragg at his tenderest, most introspective moment. Magazines picks up the pace again before the wistful New Year waltz-step of Better Days and the grungy and anthemic closing track – the booze-soaked Christmas at the ‘Vous.

This is an emotional and confessional album yet musically superbly accomplished. It’s a widescreen treatment of a small and personal journey. If you must hang it on something known, there’s a musical and thematic connection with The Airborne Toxic Event: themselves a Killers it was OK to like. Is Truth in Comedy punk? I guess it is. Steady Hands do exactly what they want. How much more punk could that be? None. None more punk.

Truth In Comedy can be ordered on physical formats here and streamed and downloaded here