Scott Reynolds & the Steaming Beast - Adventure Boy
Record Label: Suburban Home Records
Release Date: January 28, 2008
It’s all in the jocularity of their rhythms stride that make the music happen for Scott Reynolds & the Steaming Beast. Lead singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Scott Reynolds forms his own jamband, the Steaming Beast, to create his latest release Adventure Boy. It's produced by David Fridman, who plays bass, organ, and piano in the band. Reynolds and Fridman compose a canvas of country folk landscapes with reggae-hinged rock strokes and soft-ska punk shades. Adventure Boy has composites of folk musings reflective of Beck, country-frilled rock reminiscent of Patrick Park, and ska-infused punk with a stride liken to Weezer. Sometimes you'll feel like there is more than one songwriter for the album because of Reynold's chameleon-like shaped melodies which have a different look each time the next track is played.
Assisting Reynolds in making the music for the album are Mary Friedman, Steve Drozd, Nick Gonzalez, Chris Gajewski, Tim Patteson, Eric Tuberdyke, and members of Drag the River, which includes Jon Snodgrass, Chad Price, J.J. Nobody, Casey Prestwood, and Dave Barker who play on “Angel.” The track “Angel” is a hammock-swinging country tune with a sun-kissed gleam. Those sunny-pop shimmies return on the title track pinned down by the lower registers of the organ joining in the mix. The band gravitates to percussive shimmies and rhythmic tumbles like lead shavings to a magnet, especially with the ska-tempered strides of “None of This is Funny” keeping the listener’s feet tapping to the rhythmic beats.
The opening track “Jesus, Satan, Gene Beeman, His Car, & Pizza Hut” racks ska-pumped rock movements with a tongue-in-cheek jocularity liken to Weezer, while the country-folk shuffles of “The Boy Who Stole Your Heart” have a southern swag that harks of Reynold's roots in Austin, Texas. The gentle rhythmic pivots of “Tracy Hartman’s Cheek” bob up and down like a merry-go-round ride contrasting the retro rock trembles of “Rumplestiltskin.” The modern folk feel of “The Truth Teller’s Soul” has a coffeehouse gurgle with profound symbolism in the lyrics: “The truth is jello, shaped like the bowl / Shaped like its vessel, the believer’s soul / Purpose is lightning / Bright white then gone / Vivid, exciting then it’s all gone / Faith is styrofoam painted up like steel or carved like stone.”
Scott Reynolds & the Steaming Beast's latest release Adventure Boy is built for a cult following. The band’s mix of influences provides contrasting textures which make the material rich in one way and ambivalent in another, because it seems like they don’t know if they want to be a country band or a ska-punk band. It’s an album that will have people picking out which tracks they like, and leaving the rest for someone else to take similarly to a buffet table. The different textures are put together without assimilating into each other, although Scott Reynolds gets credit for at least dipping his fingers into the different crucibles.