: 11 Steps

11 Steps


We've been hearing the nostalgic breast beating for the loss of integrity and passion and real musicianship in rock music. And where the Hell have all the great singers gone?

11 Steps' debut album isn't some plastic replica of today's trendy interpretations of rock music; instead, it's a shiny vintage 1970's rockin' Rolls Royce. As you progress through the disc it's like listening to a finely programmed Classic Rock radio station.

There are liberal doses of Steely Dan's "Do It Again" on "Let It Go", Peter Green/Santana's "Black Magic Woman" on "40 Days", and Ted Nugent's Gibson guitar mastery courtesy Peter Faragher  on "Picking Hopes".
The drums from Justin Dillon, in places recall the best Jon Bonham bombast, augmented with bassist Terry Roberts' Chris Squire (Yes) and Alan Parsons staccato thumping. Together they create a tasty rhythm section especially on "Do You Wonder" which could be a missing chapter from Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" suite.

And what if Styx had used Brian Mitchell, instead of Larry Gowan, to replace Dennis DeYoung?  You might get songs like "I Need Shelter" and "Another Day" – as catchy and anthemic as anything from the ‘Grand Illusion' . The band even hints at Styx's "Come Sail Away" whose instrumental refrain opens the song "Lone Ranger" which features keyboardist Craig MacDonald on vocals.

11 Steps tease with pastiches of other memorable songs and take hard rights following the introductions. The listener is lured into a bluesy Robbie Robertson dissertation on "Gumshoe Eyes" only to be met with a grinding Deep Purple guitar/Hammond organ workout; "Come What May" begins with a typical Journey piano intro and moves effortlessly into Pablo Cruise/Player/Poco territory;  "Yours Tonight" fades in on Pink Floydian atmospherics before becoming an amalgam of vintage Jefferson Starship & Firefall.

The album closes with a derivative "Every Breathe You Take"/"Standy By Me" power ballad called "Except For Love" which might still be blasting from Classic Rock radio stations had it been released in 1979. Do not mourn the death of rock, ladies and gentlemen, celebrate the fact that it's alive and well and living in 11 Steps.
Bonus points for the "Battleship Potemkin" homage album cover.


Jaimie Vernon