Steveless - Popular Music In Theory
It's noisy, it's difficult and it sounds a lot like The Fall; you can see why the late John Peel was a fan of Steveless.
Popular Music In Theory is a distinctly punky effort, 13 songs lasting 31 minutes exactly - and that's including a decent gap between the final listed track and a hidden one. Tunes are generally there, but buried underneath rants, squeals and charged, prickly guitar.
Bored, with its runaway keyboard line, is possibly the most exhilirating song ever about being, er, bored. At four minutes long, it's the closest this album gets to an epic, and is one of the few tracks that's allowed to develop in the traditional verse-chorus-verse manner. One could - shockingly - even imagine it making a cracking single. Never mind: it's followed by waiting, which is like being spun round very fast by the school bully for 54 seconds.
Words are delivered in yelps and screams. By comparison, Mark E Smith has the clear tones of a newsreader. Well, almost. More often than not, Dan Newman (who was Steveless himself, until three other members joined) is near impossible to decipher. "I'm glad the nazi's dead" is perhaps the most notable lyric, appearing in glad (for john tyndall), about the BNP founder. At the other end of the spectrum is pa todd, a sort of nonsensical babble which sounds like it would have gone down a storm in an indie disco circa 1991.
Loud and uncompromising, it goes without saying that Steveless are an acquired taste. They're an act to seperate the men from the boys. If you could listen to Peel's Radio 1 show for more than fifteen minutes without turning off, Popular Music In Theory may be something to savour.
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