Steel Train

For You My Dear

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For You My Dear is the Drive-Thru debut of New Jersey's Steel Train. The band takes a different tack than most in the label's stable -- while vocalist Scott Irby Ranniar and guitarist/vocalist Jack Antonoff seem just as lovelorn as their peers, the duo's sound is largely acoustic, and quite baroque at that. Their Beatles worship is strong; the title track pays homage to "Dear Prudence" with the shameless joy of youth. Meanwhile "W. 12th" is a rustic instrumental with a quiver full of plucked strings -- it's so dignified it could almost be a recital piece. Yes, this EP is an introduction to what the band does. But this sort of thing still seems rather showy, a calculated move to establish Steel Train as Important Artists ("How young! How erudite!"). Fortunately, the release's other half better fuses modern references to classic influences. "Blown Away" steals a page from the Strokes with its treated vocals, before breaking into a wonderful piano solo bridge. Best might be "Alley Cat," with its tradeoff harmonies and brooding, wandering bassline. It's Steel Train's most original song, and suggests strong things to come.

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