Album Review: Steak - Acute Mania
Reviewed by Matthew Williams
It’s a warm (ish) sunny day as I decide to pop on the latest offering from London based fuzz rock/stoner groove band Steak. They are a band whose name I’ve heard of before, as they’ve supported the likes of John Garcia, Monster Magnet and The Atomic Bitchwax, whilst also appearing at Desertfest and SXSW, but I’ve never really known much about them.
After an absence of almost 5 years, they are back with their third album 'Acute Mania' which is being released through the amazing Ripple Music, and is a smorgasbord of different musical styles, making it really difficult to pigeon hole them into any particular genre, as their brand of intoxicating droning guitars, has hard rock vibes, layered with hypnotic and rhythmic percussion. To be fair, on a warm day in the office, it’s a cracking album to listen to, but it does mean that not much work is getting done, as this demands your full attention.
The opening song 'Wolves' really sets the bar incredibly high, as every first track should, and it enables the listener to get a really good flavour of what is about to ensue over the next few tracks and beyond. It's slow and low, with haunting, effortless vocals from frontman Kip, and the slow, brooding hooks from guitarist Reece, allow the song to encase the listener and really draw them into their atmospheric world.
Songs like 'Ancestors' and the unbelievably hypnotic 'Last Days' allow the band to demonstrate their skilled musicianship to the full, and if your eyes aren’t closed and dreaming of sunnier climes and happier times, whilst listening to the latter, then there really is no helping you, as its as dreamy a song as you could wish for.
For me 'Frequencies' is the stand out track on the album, it has a slow opening to it, building and creating tension before it starts to build with echoey vocals, and haunting bassline aiding the delectable guitar hook. And then 2 and a half minutes into the song, the riff gets heavier, the drums and vocals kick in and you find yourself immersed in one hell of stoner rock groove and slow headbanging motion. It really is 7 and a half minutes of unadulterated musical bliss, twisting and turning like a prima ballerina on the stage.
The Kyuss inspired grooves continue across the rest of the album, with a particular nod to 'Papa’s Special Custard', not sure on the inspiration for this title, but lets just leave that to your imagination eh folks, but stoner rock fans will ignore this release at their peril, as it is an album which has psychedelic, stoner goodness sizzling out of every pore and Steak are ready to kick some shit once again.