Steak- Slab City (Napalm Records)

A promising debut...
Release Date: 
4 Sep 2014 - 11:30pm

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but more often than not that idiom isn’t worth a lick of salt. Take this, Steak’s debut album, for example. What you see on the cover is a pretty good representation of what you’re going to get on the inside, which in this case is some seriously gnarly stoner rock dished out by a quartet of grit-laden cowboys from the dusty streets of… London.

Okay, well, maybe that analogy doesn’t hold too much water. However, miserable, sun-deprived Brits as they may be, Steak’s spiritual home clearly lies in the American desert. I have no idea where Slab City might be located, but I’d bet my left hand that it’s in the same County as Sky Valley because the Kyuss-isms here are quite prevalent. Just listen to the opening refrains of Coma, you can practically smell the desert air (as well as other substances best left unmentioned) as images of magnetic monsters are conjured up over guitar riffs so fuzzy, they could have crawled out from under my couch.

While there are some people out there that would find a band that wears their influences as prevalently on their sleeves as Steak to be a tad hackneyed, I’ve always been appreciative of musicians capable of distilling the spiritual essence of their heroes. It certainly can’t be argued that Steak have failed in that regard, the music on offer here is earthy with a real sense of groove that is rather impressive for a band on their debut album. I’m not the only one clearly beguiled by the bands prowess, as the desert rock messiah himself, John Garcia, lends his sun-dried vocal chords to the track Pisser. Elsewhere, the level of quality remains consistent and we even see some traces of slide guitar on Old Timer D.W.

As far as debut albums go, this is an engaging and enticing listen. As far as stoner or “desert rock” albums go, it’s also an informed and masterful take on the genre. Others might see fit to pass on this album, but it gets two thumbs up from me.