[Release date 13.12.15] www.steelthreadsmusic.co.uk
With no PR blurb as a guide, The Rule Of Three came as something of an aural surprise the black cover emblazoned with a barbed wire take on John Paul Jones’ Led Zeppelin IV symbol (with its roots in a middle ages religious cult), and the band’s name in industrial capitals, the expectation was for some heavy metal mayhem.
The reality could be nothing further removed. Formed in 2011, Steel Threads are in fact an English acoustic folk/rock band comprising of Neil Wardleworth on guitar, bass drum and vocals, Laura Wilcockson on violin and vocals, and Tracy Beardmore on bass, violin and vocals.
And while their material is not designed to set pulses racing, they are, however, influenced by the likes of Zeppelin, Crowded House, Fleetwood Mac, REM, New Model Army and Ed Alleyne Johnson, and Helpless kicks off the rather pleasant set like an acoustic / folk-take of Bryan Adams’ Reckless.
It’s an unusual, and interesting format that works particularly well when Wilcockson and Breadmore’s harmonies underpin Wardleworth’s pleasant ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ textured vocals, and it’s easy to see why Steel Threads have quickly become folk festival favourites. Electrification is minimal, although there are some dreamily sympathetic lead guitar lines on ‘Touch The Stars’.
The album is built around restrained acoustic guitar lines, with violins providing depth and to the perfect counterpart to the lead and harmony vocals. Ultimately though, an album of this nature must be judged on the strength of the songs. And they’re pretty good, although a few more hooks wouldn’t go amiss, and an independent producer might draw the best out the band.
Their third album, The Rule Of Three is going to continue to garner fans for Steel Threads, but you can’t help but feel that the band are probably at their best in a live environment. Engaging. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
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