Timeless piano rock classics to lift yourself up with.
Steady Holiday’s new album opens up with some fascinating home truths that I really identified with. ‘I thought busy was a noble state to keep me in’ as she paints white walls white. It is great insight into what is an airy and breezy sounding pop rock album that keeps slaying home truths hidden in plain sight.
The whole album has a quiet transformation going on lyrically. Dre Babinski, who wears the name Steady Holiday, seems to have found an optimistic path towards a brighter and calmer future. With the chirpy rock of ‘White Walls’ and poptastic ‘Sunny in the Making’, we have uptempo gleeful moments of music that feel like breaths of fresh air. The beauty of the album is that the sounds change up constantly. From current synthy pop, we flick to timeless classic easy listening rock with the smouldering ‘Repeat’. It was at this point I noticed how vocally and musically, Steady Holiday finds an ally and friend with New Zealander Bic Runga. Even when we get acoustic rock anthem ‘Living Life’, the crystal cleanness of Dre’s voice is utterly pure. Add in some big, bold ABBA piano riffs and you have the albums sound in a crude nutshell.
Of course, this misses the point – the album is a blast. Even when we get celestial electric piano ballad ‘Candles’, you are wowed by the simplistic beauty of every sound. The production gives a vintage 60’s warmth – I assume it has had some tape effects or recorded directly to it as when the strings join in, it is sumptuous and heavenly. Taking a cue from kooky b-movie drama, ‘Tangerine’ is a heavy piano rock anthem for vampires. It has a strong hook, real oomph in the bass and frankly, could be an early contender for my favourite track of the year already. It is that good.
My only slight criticism comes from the album being short. After the detuned piano rock ballad of ‘Exactly What It Means’ that sways you to numbness, the gentle and short acoustic ballad ‘Love Me When I Go To Sleep’ closes out the album with simple beauty. ‘I just want some normalcy’ Steady Holiday sings as she washes the dishes. A comment on current pandemic problems perhaps, or just a yearning for calmness and stability in general. Either way, I felt it. I also wanted just one or two more songs but then a great album always leaves you yearning for more.
Clocking in at just over 25 minutes, Steady Holiday’s new album is brief but jam-packed with eight quality songs that you’ll constantly return back to over and over again. The first top tier singer-songwriter album I’ve found in 2021 is here. Fantastic.
Recommended track: Tangerine
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