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The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

This review was first published on CLUAS in 2003
Other albums reviewed in 2003


A review of their debut EP 'Smash them all to bits'

If you like Moody you'll surely dig Fiachra McCarthy's seascape sleevework on Steerage's new EP. With its evocative grey waves booming against an even greyer wharf, it demonstrates a certain harmony with the music, in terms of quality and intent.

Steerage 'Smash Them All to Bits EP'Steerage are a Dublin based three piece dealing in guitar/bass/drums instrumentals. The EP's musicianship is top notch, with bass player Conor Rapple and skinsman Brian O'Higgins getting the right balance between driving things forward while laying down a solid base for Donnchadh Hoey's diverse and gorgeously fluid guitar lines. Hoey can really put licks together-there are hints of John Barry overtones but not overly so. It's Hoey who gives the music its colour and shape.

'Cyrus Kleever' is the EP's standout, a brooding soundpiece that avoids shortcut musical clich? - if it's intended as a film soundtrack I can't wait to see the movie. The rest of the EP's tracks - 'No two strings are the same', 'Is this thing on?' and 'One trip around the sun' are very good in a Durutti Column / Let's Active / Love Tractor kinda way but the three tracks are absolutely crying out for a human voice. They're a musical tease, you almost hold your breath waiting for a voice to be heard over the twists and turns and loops of Steerage's melodies, and any singer worth his / her salt would die to put down vocal tracks over this band's intriguing arrangements.

'Smash them all to bits' is a fine debut by a promising outfit - don't shout it too loud but a half decent vocalist would seal the Steerage deal.

Anthony Morrissey