Reviews

Steve J. Allen


New album CONTRAST & single ‘OLD FRIEND’
by STEVE J. ALLEN
out 3/9/21  on Studio III recordings

Steve J. Allen is working on his music in his own uncompromising way and he has no intention of being tied down or held back by anyone else’s expectations of him. He grew up in Peterborough, toured with punk bands from a young age and musically came of age in Sheffield, where he worked and lived for over 10 years before moving temporarily to South East Asia.
His debut record Wreck The Place, released in 2014 via Righteous Anger Records/Labelship fell mostly into the punk category.

On Contrast the sentiment of raw and angry energy has evolved into a wider range of stylistic features and emotions. A rather personal song about the loss of an early friend (For Joe), a psychedelic ballad (Other World) and even a couple of experimental numbers (The Anchor, Mystery Interlude II) were strewn-in.
All in all Contrast is still an upbeat and straightforward record consisting of short and catchy tunes. Acoustic guitars, voice and harmonica typically shape most of SJA’s sound and the majority of the songs were tracked live in a three-piece band setting. It was recorded mostly in sporadic sessions and finished with an array of guest musicians from the Sheffield scene.
The songs were written over many years, during epic tours and wanderings across the globe. Possessing both the spirit of a troubadour and a fierce performer, on this album SJA combines the two worlds of singer-songwriter introspection and raw and furious energy.

“To me, this album is organic, imperfect and open to suggestion. I enjoy it, and that’s all I really care about.’

Old Friend is the first single to be released from this record. It is a song about reconnecting with a childlike trust of your intuition. It almost feels topical of our time in which people have to make many intuitive adjustments.    

Indistinct Chatter, Means To An End and Slap In The Face are equally representative numbers with lyrics that allow an insight into some of SJA’s most significant experiences, life episodes and human connections.

 

SIDE I
Outlaw
The Anchor
Lotus Eaters
No Time
Old Friend

SIDE II
Mystery Interlude II
For Joe
Slap in the Face
Indistinct Chatter
Means to an End
Other World

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All songs written, arranged and performed by Steve J. Allen except The Anchor and Other World, written by Steve J. Allen & Matt Hardouin
Additional musicians: Ally Fraser (drums), Liz Hanley (violin), Matt Hardouin (guitar), Stephen Mosel (bass), Stefano Esposito (bass), Tom Jarvis (guitar)

Recorded and mixed by Thomas Lebioda at The Laundry Rooms, Sheffield
The Anchor and Other World recorded at Steve’s flat by Matt Hardouin
Mastered by Karsten Deutschmann at Gentle Art, Hamburg, Germany
Lacquers cut by Noel Summerville, London
Cover art by Steve J. Allen
Sleeve design and layout by Lauren Kelley

STUDIO III RECORDINGS is a recording studio and record label with an emphasis on analogue music production and high-quality record making. Our office and studio are located in Sheffield UK.

Established in 2020 as a division of Labelship Records, we’ve set out to maintain a production culture in which the recording, mixing, mastering and lacquer cutting procedures are kept entirely within the analogue domain.

We focus on intricate, limited-edition record pressings and distribute them worldwide through selected record shops, via Bandcamp and our regional distribution partners.

Steve J. Allen – Old Friend

Steve J. Allen – Like An Old Toy

Steve J. Allen links:
Band/Artist location – Sheffield UK
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