Steve Katz is someone we featured a while back last year and Steve has returned with his first EP “Barricades” and it showcases his guitar/vocal workings to excellent effect.
Opener “Thrive” is a real road trip track. It’s elating chorus of muted power chords and euphoric vocals over a rock ballad beat works really well. I can hear this on a summer’s day with the top down on the car. Steve’s vocals shine here. “Today I Saw Hope” is an acoustic guitar and vocal track minimal female backing vocals. It wistfully takes it time to meander around from chord to chord almost verging onto a country edge but staying just clear enough from it to classify it in that genre. “Barricades”, the title track then actually pushes the country edges further and goes into easy listening territory with some excellent guitar work and some soft keyboard synths spacing out the soft drums. It’s not a genre I delve into much but it reminds me of a cross between some of the slower Stone Temple Pilots tracks and Sarah McLachlan.
“Fair” is the song that undergoes the most transformation in the four minutes it’s with you. Starting off as a two chord acoustic piece it builds into an impressive pop rock piece with some strong guitar embellishments. The way how the whole EP is mixed means that everything is very softly melted together so even when the guitars are punching out the chords, it’s still soft and doesn’t power over anything else. This could be viewed positively or negatively. The closer “A Modern Tale” to me harks back to the artists Belgian roots and feels distinctively European with its sway to its melodic guitar arpeggios. Steve’s vocals hold the piece with its hushed distillation.
“Barricades” is a great introduction to Steve Katz. The songs aren’t immediately catchy upon first listen but they do stay with you and whilst I can’t quite decide on the soft production on the rockier tracks, for the quieter ones they certainly hold an impressive space.