Six albums in Adelaide’s William Street Strikers are sounding as good as ever. I love the opener ‘Poor Boy’ which is built on a jangly guitar riff, a great understated vocal and just a damn fine groove. It’s a great opener and has a wonderful vintage feel to it that pervades the whole album. Title track ‘Baltimore Train’ has an even more insistent groove and an almost Iggy Pop goes Country via Hoodoo Gurus groove. It’s wonderful stuff – imagine South Australian pub rock in all its glorious rough and raw, lean and mean old school rockiness and you have it!
‘Bad Man’ takes things right down, economical story telling rock that soothes the soul, It’s wonderful stuff. Three tracks in I’m a happy man. But I get happier of course. ‘How Does It Feel’ takes us on a 60’s trip that’s kinda psychedelic, kinda trippy, and very, very good. ‘Sorry’ is a little more introspective that almost feels like later Husker Du met R.E.M. at a Crowded House convention.
On an album is bereft of commonplace moments ‘I’m Going Home’ could also be vintage ‘Gurus’ meets Dandy Warhols in their ‘strummier’, poppier moments. ‘Shelter’ adds heartfelt introspection and a certain yearning that is almost breathtaking, it’s a real highlight for me even if I’m not completely sold on the sax. ‘Everything’s Wrong’ tips it’s hat at good old timeless Rock and Roll and almost has a Stonsey feel to it before ‘Wedding Cake Baby’ adds some Creedence to the mix as it gets all wonderful on you! I love it!
Closer ‘Let You Down’ brings it all together with a catchy pub rocker that sums up everything here. This is an album that has a wonderful mix of sounds and textures, left of centre – sure, but it’s also an album made by people who care. There’s no genre jumping or particular allegiances here just a love of music, or let’s say good music. Can I say these guys are my very favourite South Australian Rock outfit? I just wish they were playing live one day when I visit that beautiful State!
The press release ends with one line that I find kind of wonderful and very fitting: “Baltimore Train travails through the last 80 years of the art form dutifully tipping the hat to all the important movements that we call music”. It might not of course be strictly correct but the vibe is spot on.
8 / 10