One of the most lamentable things about the ceaselessly churning, never-ending turnover of new music is that things like sentiment, craftsmanship and honesty very quickly go flying out of the window as new artists claw for attention in a relentless swamp of releases. Finding a band like The Kimberly Steaks alive and well in 2015 has done more than put a smile on our faces this month, it’s gone some way to restoring our faith in musicians creating music for the sake of it – not as a career path or even necessarily to do anything with it, just because it’s running through their veins and bleeding out of them at every opportunity.
‘To Live and Die in West Central Scotland’ is an album that keeps on giving – from the wry, knowing examination of modern life in a back-wood town to the cuttingly honest depictions of boredom and depression experienced by songwriter Greig Steak, this is a record that screams integrity in a time where it’s so often sadly lacking. What makes it so instantly relatable and appealing is that we’ve all been there at some point; if you haven’t, you’ll just never know how uniting it can be to discover there other people out there trudging through their day to day existence and still managing to create wonderful, beautiful things out of their own sadness.
The Kimberly Steaks offer a vague familiarity, some distant remnant of teenage excitement, the rapt and silent attention with which you pored over your favourite bands that it’s so easy to lose hold of as you flail into adult life like a clueless over-sized toddler. Sure, the comparisons to fledgling Green Day are easy to draw, but less so the tip of the hat to Chicago punks The Smoking Popes or the inherent residing tinges of The Jam and The Buzzcocks.
If you want to fall in love with a band for the first time all over again, you could do a lot worse than this record – a tribute to the spirit of why most of us end up clinging dearly to our record collection throughout the ups and downs of life.
– Jamie Otsa
Venue: To Live and Die In West Central Scotland
Support Band: All In Vinyl Records