Scott Reynolds & the Steaming Beast
|©2008 Suburban Home
1. Jesus, Satan, Gene Beeman, His Car, & Pizza Hut
3. The Boy Who Stole Your Heart
4. Scaffold Lick
5. Line Check
6. Tracy Hardman's Cheek
8. Adventure Boy
9. None Of This Is Funny
10. The Truth Teller's Soul
Having sailed into the years where most men have a midlife crisis, ditch the wife and kids, and buy a rather flashy penis extension known as a "Porsche" or "Beamer", Scott Reynolds has instead chosen to become a much more musically prolific artist. Since the Pavers' tragic dissolution and Reynolds' move to Austin, Texas, Scott has released his very own greatest hits package, fronted a heavy rock outfit called The Bonesaw Romance, reunited with ALL guitarist Stephen Egerton in a project called 40engine, and now has released a pseudo solo album under the moniker "Scott Reynolds & the Steaming Beast". Considering today's oil prices, starting multiple musical projects is a far more environmentally sound way to deal with being a bit older and a bit wiser. However, I probably should state that claiming Scott is starting these projects as a form of a midlife crisis is entirely libelous. Fortunately, I am aware that his relative obscurity will prevent him from finding a good lawyer.
Besides, a good rule of thumb is to never sue someone as poor as yourself.
Anyhow, the Steaming Beast is a pseudo all-star lineup with the idea that it can be anyone accompanying Scott Reynolds, or be as simple as Scott accompanying himself with a piano. Adventure Boy happens to feature a fellow named Stephen Drodz from the Flaming Lips and producer Dave Fridmann, as well as help from members of such notable outfits as the Pavers and Drag the River. It does not, however, feature any contributions from Bill Leeb, who up till now holds a record for the most recorded appearances in the history of the universe. For longtime fans of Scott, the Steaming Beast represents a bit of a tangent for our singing hero. Adventure Boy features the "softer" side of Scott Reynolds, which happens to be a hybrid of lounge, rock, and island music. (Don't ask me to specify which island. High school geography, which I scored an "A", was many years ago.) This reminds me a bit of the time when Bob Mould released an album that was filled with lots of electronics and his fanbase had a moderate freakout. I don't expect the same freakout by Scott's minions, since Adventure Boy mostly features standard rock'n'roll instruments, but I bring it up to present a very clever analogy. What many fans overlooked about Mould's Modulate is that at the core, the songs were still vintage Bob Mould, despite the presentation. The same thing applies to the Steaming Beast, as every song oozes with Scott-isms: strong melodies, great lyrics, and a few sneaky hooks.
Although there's quite a bit of variety on Adventure Boy, there is a lazy, tropical sort of feel that is infused in many of the songs. "The Boy Who Stole Your Heart" makes me think of islands (hence the reference to islands above...now you see where I was going with that). There's a remake of Goodbye Harry's "Angel", which is given a country overhall. "Scaffold Lick" features Scott and his piano and one very mean producer who won't let Scott quit. "Rumplestiltskin" is the most "edgy" tune, one that probably oozes Scott-isms more than any other single song.
Adventure Boy is a very welcome new addition to the Scott Reynolds world of music makin'. Although I get the impression that Scott needs a bit more time to really be comfortable writing songs outside the punk paradigm, or maybe I'm an idiot who doesn't realize that perhaps Scott has been writing these sort of songs for years and simply amped them up for Goodbye Harry and the Pavers, the album is a winner. With luck, Scott will get together with a few more pals and get another Steaming Beast album out sooner rather than later.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 06/2008