Some of you may be wondering where Steiner Street is located. Like me, you’ve been a resident of Pop Punksville for a couple of years now and you think you’ve got a pretty good grasp on every square inch of the area. You know that by walking too far down Fall Out Boy Lane will take you to the fashion district, and you also know that by keeping it positive you’ll wind up walking down Wonder Years Road. You know that the Boulevard of Broken Dreams holds a high nostalgia factor, but it should be avoided these days because it intersects with the fashion district no matter how much fanboys will deny it. You’ve spent countless summer nights at the Joe Queer Beach or Leftovers Dance Hall, and during that cold and depressing winter break two years ago, you lived at your part time job in the Schwarzenbach Art Building.
Enough reminiscing- are you still wondering about Steiner Street? Go over to the Saves the Day Center and head left until you reach Title Fight Avenue. Head West two more blocks from there until you’ve reached the Man Overboard Underpass, and you’ll find yourself at Steiner Street. It’s kind of a niche area, and maybe not all of your friends would enjoy hanging out there, but as long as you’re enjoying yourself that’s all that matters.
Imagery and allusions aside, Steiner Street is a melodic pop punk band from Portland, Maine. Their debut full length, “Time & Temperature,” is a fun pop punk album that pays homage to classic acts such as Lifetime and Daggermouth while also sounding vaguely similar to more contemporary artists. It’s almost as if Title Fight and Man Overboard had a kid (More imagery, sorry).
Time & Temperature sets the mood with I Should Have Never Had a Birthday, starting off slowly before transforming into an upbeat number about heading forward into the future without regret, filled with quick rhythm, fast guitars, and even gang vocals toward the end. While not every song on Time & Temperature has every single one of these elements, I Should Have Never Had a Birthday shows off what the album is all about and what’s to be expected. Things really pick up in the album’s second track, Fish in a Barrel, a blistering fast and melodic pop punk song that wouldn’t be out of place on a late 90’s New Jersey Pop Punk record.
Other stand out tracks include Make It Count, a catchy group sing-along with an infectious lead guitar that recalls blink-182; the defiant-sounding Hey Prew, which really reminds me a lot of Lifetime; and, despite falling into almost all of the clichés of an album closer including a slow start and a build-up to shouted choruses over fast riffing, the 4 minute Quite Literally the Drink That Killed Him. I’ll admit that not every track is perfect- the finger tapping solo on Frost, while performed well enough, is odd to hear because finger tapping has never really had a place in most subdivisions of punk rock… unless you’re in Less Than Jake.
With a run time of 25 minutes, Steiner Street has managed to record an impressive debut. The production on Time & Temperature is clean sounding, but at the same time it still has a raw and sincere energy to it- something that often gets lost in the studio recording translation. In these 8 songs, Steiner Street successfully avoids falling into the pitfalls that many other bands do. To anyone who feels that pop punk has gone soft over the years, this album may be just the thing for you.