Released: 2013, Indie Recordings
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
How’d you like your steak? Well-done and ever-so-slightly tough or easy to slice but a touch bloody? Order a Steak Number Eight in Belgium and you’ll get the latter - a delicious harmony between soft vocal sentiment and riffs with teeth. (Disclaimer - for all I know asking for a Steak Number Eight in Belgium could be a bad idea...)
Anyway these youthful types have been playing about with instruments since they were only 15, and now still only pushing towards 20 Steak Number Eight have served up album number two - The Hutch. A side of fries is optional.
There’s been so much creaming over Steak Number Eight I’m not sure there’s any tissues left in the music review space, and The Hutch seems sure to only exacerbate the problem. Sorry Kleenex. On the one hand The Hutch is an interesting blending of post-rock influence and sludgy guitars, darker and moodier than before, but luckily for the other it doesn’t set me afire. Least not down there.
The clean vocals are a dreamy, atmospheric affair that reminds of those alternative bands from the 90s such as Deftones, you know that time when everyone was very anguished, and mellow with it. What we’re really interested is is the delivery method and with tracks from four to near-on ten minutes or so in length there’s quite a difference in terms of approach here.
‘Ashore’ for example is a showcase of Steak Number Eight’s understanding of dynamics, blending rolling riffs and powerful vocals, with escalating drums and distressed growls. Whereas within the more post-rock end, ‘Push Pull’ is a largely instrumental affair, and I have to say that if the vocals came to anything when they finally appeared I wasn’t aware of it as my interest had gone into the backseat to root around long before. ‘Photonic’ is another one where things just plod along without much to turn heads.
‘Pilgrimage Of A Blackheart’ has a much more engaging opening guitar sound that morphs into a doomy head-nodding riff that melds in and out with the softer piano sounds, and ‘Exile Of Our Marrow’ again makes the most of the quiet-loud teeth-soft belly combination. More of this please.
Never mind what I think though, I’m sure people will still be upholding The Hutch as a work of genius, and for fans of post-rock, ambience it may very well be that. For those more like me it may be more hit and miss as to which songs capture you, but regardless I’ll be keeping steak on the menu for the meantime.
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs