Steamboat is a seven-piece band with retro soul inclinations, made up of folks with serious cred as sessions players for luminaries like Sandro Perri and Alex Lukashevsky. So while the creativeness is potential, the musicianship is guaranteed. Not that they ever let that get in the way of the good times on this debut album. Guided by keysman and lead singer Matt McLaren, Steamboat kicks it with all the rollicking exuberance of a throw-together jam band.
McLaren’s vocal derives from Guess Who-era Burton Cummings, a perfect fit for the material’s Seventies bent. Shit gets really sublime when the clean and razor-sharp soprano pipes of Maylee Todd kick in. The hot ticket here is “Don’t Try To Fool Me,”, the vocals in perfect complementary synch rididing atop a wicked catchy groove.
Helping keep the grooves deep and funky, bassist Mike Smith and axeman Nick Taylor, ably abetted by a dance-inciting passages from the horn section, coming together best on “Hey Marvin” and “Chains.” Recorded at 6 Nassau Studios and Hallamusic in a co-production between the band and Jeff McMurrich (Fucked Up, Owen Pallett, Constantines), Rules emerges as an engaging collection of old school, ass shaking blue eyed soul.
Possibly the first wall-to-wall party animal album of the summer.