The Steinways - Missed the Boat (Cover Artwork)

The Steinways

Missed the Boat (2006)

Cold Feet

The kids will always have their say. And they will always have their fun. For every snarling, braying, acerbic and biting Black Flag, you have smiling, sunny, bouncy and funny Descendents. The early `80s saw the inception of loads of pissed off punk bands. But it also saw many of those pissed off punks lace their anger with potent humor. Many bands have come along since to mete out the meanness with spoonfuls of laughs.

The Steinways are not in this to fight. They don't want to smash the state or smash your face. They're just looking to have a good time and sing about the trivial headaches, heartaches and stomachaches that haunt their daily lives. That might seem trite but it's human, o so human. It clicks best when anyone can relate.

For two reasons (not musical) I give this band props: They recorded with Chris Pierce in my old hood of New Brunswick, NJ. And the lyrics to "Warped Tour" go as follows: "One million bands / One million hours / Too bad all of it sucked." Why are so few bands willing to slay the sacred cows of "punk" rock, especially when those bovine creatures stomp upon the mainstream musical landscape with unfettered hubris? It's refreshing to hear voices unafraid of offending the aristocrats of current pop music.

What we have otherwise is 20 songs of 4/4 high-octane pop-punk -- raspy-voiced bopping bubblegum punk. That's 20 songs with a total running time of 21:31. They deserve adulation for that feat, in a time when more and more bands strive to cram as much music as possible onto a CD. Amidst the normal punk barrage, the band offer quieter passages, funkier asides, all of it passed off with a grin and a humorous air.

This sounds like music created by teenagers, for teenagers. They come from nice suburban homes and I'm sure they put on a fun show. Someone probably dresses up in a funny outfit and maybe gets naked. Despite the frivolity on display, there are keen social observations at work here. "" addresses the phenomenon of online flirting: "They're all girls from hardcore shows / Only now they're not wearing any hooded sweatshirts." Otherwise, the lyrics pertain to our protagonist's lack of love. Isn't that always the story with singers of rock'n'roll bands?