With the British and the U.S dominating the rock music scene since the infamous King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Fab Four, it’s easy to forget that other countries have their own answers to the genre too. Hailing from Saltzburg, Austria, Steaming Satellites incorporated electronica, funk and soul into their predominantly classic rock sound on their new self-titled album, creating an amalgamation that’d make even classic rock pioneers, the Black Keys, envious. Indeed, you’d be forgiven for thinking that opening riff to ‘Unreal’ is the riff the duo never wrote, so reminiscent is it of their own ‘Dead and Gone’, which then goes on to channel a sound similar to the disco vibes of Scissor Sisters.
The Austrian band’s record opens with ‘Together’; a song which channels classic American rock to a tee. Opening with a campfire-worthy acoustic guitar chord sequence, the track then develops into a more retro sound that incorporates keys and strings, before swapping that acoustic for an electric in a storming guitar solo. Some dubious sounding synths mark the beginning of second track, ‘Rocket’, and indeed, these synths fail to add anything to the track for its entire duration. The band would have been better to have lost them, as the chugging guitars and funk-inspired melody is enough to make this song a triumph.
Steaming Satellites go on to channel Vampire Weekend on ‘Honey’, with its urban, poppy guitars, while ‘Restless Robot’, with its heartfelt vocals, has its roots in soul music. ‘Unfelt’ is a flickering ballad that waltzes majestically, like a soundtrack to a classic black-and-white film, which is immediately followed by ‘Back and Forth’ – an 80’s disco-infused romp. Acting as a unifying presence across the whole album is frontman Max Borchardt’s vocals, reminiscent of Kings of Leon singer Caleb Followill.
This myriad of genres means that this record is less a cohesive body of work, and more of a zig-zagging voyage, celebrating everything music has to offer. Steaming Satellites are here to remind us that if we’re prepared to dig a little deeper, Europe has some real musical gems to discover.