Album Review: Steering By Stars – Cables (2010 LP)


Adelaide has laid claim to some exceptional Australian bands over the years, and now it can proudly add young locals Steering By Stars to its credit. One of the more intriguing bands to come from the city of churches, the five piece are also one of the city’s most interesting live acts, a label that’s unsurprising given the grand potential of their of emotional post-rock tunes.

Appropriately, their debut album Cables comes from three days of live recording, and the raw, tangible effect is immediate. At times atmospheric, emotional and cinematic, the album is an exceptionally engaging sonic journey which wears its influences (among them Deerhunter and Doves) proudly on its sleeve.

A gravelly, almost crackling vinyl sound introduces the record, ushering in a cosmic, spatial hum as the following track ‘Spirits’, slides quickly in. It becomes more dense, discordant and dark as resonant guitar licks and cascading drum beats wash over tracks like the moody indie rock of ‘Dissonance’.

The mood lightens somewhat with the more uplifting ‘Closer’, where an insistent and innocent piano melody flows through the expansive, shoegazeish song. With tunes like ‘Closer’ or even the sparse ‘Bluish Response’, it’s hard not to reference bands like Sigur Ros or Explosions in the Sky, whose music shares the same bittersweet melodies and ambient qualities.

‘These Knives’ kicks things back in with ferocity before the album heads back into a more lush, emotional finish. This record is intended to be listened to as a whole – standing alone, some tracks sound quite out of context. At times Cables can be an emotionally erratic trip, but overall it’s a worthwhile one.

Review Score: 8/10