Coming across as a low-rent version of Jeff Ott, Steve Towson’s first release is a jangly, sixties style guitar (which displaces the normal acoustic found on these albums) and a snotty, Joe Strummer meets Mike Ness-style of voice. Highly charged emotions are laid up without much ornamentation by Steve, striking the listener all the harder when they realize exactly what ey is committing to the disc. From “Madness of King George”; “I say I believe in peace for the world…but I know that peace won’t come under George” and “So Long A Winter”; “I am so young but I feel so old, the whole world’s growing so cold cause we are realizing.”, “1 Shot At Freedom” is a run through the gauntlet of emotions, from being left cold by politicians to being frozen by the weather. The arrangements on the disc are fairly surprising coming from a singer and eir’s guitar, but Steve has the ability to go and create some different sounding times and effects with ey’s axe.
For example, the cranked-up, breakneck tempo of “Jackie Jackie Packer” and noodling in that track seems utterly chaotic and without any form of control by Steve, but immediately following that, “Chris and Tony” comes through to provide a diametric opposite with its 50s style rock and roll. Throughout “1 Shot at Freedom”, Steve provides eir’s listening base with a raw, rough, and well-done set of tracks that are distinct without being disjointed. The exciting thing about Steve’s work is the fact that it so completely and convincingly meshes together raw, dirty and fast punk rock with the more insightful and melodic singer-songwriter fare, something that has not been done successfully until this disc.
Steve does not need the biggest production or even anything more than just the guitar to make a solid disc. In fact, the slightly fuzzy nature of the mastered recording gives “1 Shot At Freedom” a timeless tone and mellows Steve’s grizzly voice at times. “1 Shot At Freedom” is a natural progression from “When The Revolution Comes”, due to its complete integrations of Steve’s influences, something that just was not present on the slightly rougher “Revolution”. All in all, Steve has matured so much in the last few years as a songwriter, and I have a feeling that “1 Shot At Freedom” is going to be a transitional album, only to be trumped by ey’s next album.
Top Tracks: Madness of King George, So Long A Winter
Steve Towson – 1 Shot At Freedom / CrimInAll Records / 15 Tracks / http://www.stevetowson.com /