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The Steady Hand

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Album Review

After 15 years together, a hefty number of lineup changes, and enough bad luck with record companies to make most bands stop dead in their tracks, New Radiant Storm King founders Peyton Pinkerton and Matt Hunter have not only survived (from a musical standpoint), they've thrived, and their seventh full-length album, The Steady Hand, is a superb example of dark, noisy pop that isn't afraid to rock out or move into more measured territory. While a few of these songs suggest the influence of Pinkerton's other gig in the Pernice Brothers along the edges in their rich but melancholy melodic structures (most notably "Accountant of the Year" and "Fighting off the Pricks"), Pinkerton and Hunter up the ante with their precise and musical guitar work, and the lurching thunder of "Hands and Eyes," the methodical and contemplative "Yardsale Legacy," and the lean, petulant charge of "Quicksand Under Carpet" all demonstrate how many tricks these guys have up their sleeves. NRST are also lucky enough to have had a superb rhythm section for these sessions, and Patrick Berkery's drums and Caleb Wetmore's bass are metronomically tight while also adding excellent texture and color to their side of the record. If there are moments where The Steady Hand recalls the glory days of indie rock of the 1990s, New Radiant Storm King don't sound like a band living in the past, but guys who never finished working out all the musical possibilities of that genre, and in 2005 they sound as fresh and compelling as ever, with The Steady Hand standing comfortably with their strongest work.


Formed: 1991

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Noise pop trio New Radiant Storm King have survived more than their share of tribulations in the indie rock world, including defections of key members, geographical dislocation, and the collapse of more than one label. However, the Amherst, MA-based trio's music has gained in depth and feeling where many of their '90s lo-fi brethren stagnated in diffident irony. New Radiant Storm King formed in 1990, when their members were students at Hampshire College. The original lineup was singer and bassist...
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The Steady Hand, New Radiant Storm King
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