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Wednesday, Aug 6 2003
Although Britain's latest export, Steadman, has adopted Jon Bon Jovi and Glenn Danzig's practice of naming the group after its lead singer's last name, that's where the self-indulgence stops. Instead, Steadman's music exists somewhere between Oasis' anthemic tendencies and Coldplay's emotional, heart-wrenching delivery -- without being derivative of either influence.

Like its aforementioned countrymen, this quintet offers its own interpretation of the formulas handed down by '60s-era British rock bands. But unlike those groups, Steadman leaves its roughest edges intact, resulting in a major-label debut, Revive (the band previously self-released another album, Loser Friendly), that is pleasantly imperfect. Supported by rolling melodies, Simon Steadman's forceful voice bounces from grounded lows to falsetto highs ("Create Your Fate," "Good to Go"), employing impressive range. Springing up from the sinuous rhythm section, the understated guitar jangles (the most overtly Oasis-esque aspect of Steadman, particularly on "Carried" and "Two Together") are fleshed out by expressive keyboards and string work. Neither slick nor precise, Revive taps a visceral nerve, that part of you that craves blemishes as evidence of authenticity.

Though written on the heels of a painfully failed relationship, the album avoids self-pitying numbers, opting instead for buoyant, defiantly bright songs, the stuff of air-punches and loud sing-alongs ("Sun Lotion," "The Bitter End"). Sparkling with confidence and soaring with soulful sincerity, Revive manages to sound epic but not excessive. It's an indication that this band has what it takes to fill those Bon Jovi-size stadiums.

About The Author

Lily Moayeri


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