Lion’s Roar: Roadstar

Released late in 2001. William Steffey’s new album Roadstar is certainly original if nothing else.

A fusion of jazz, hard rock and electronica, Roadstar is bound to appeal to someone. But while the mixture of the three styles is fairly executed, the end result is a medley of sounds that is a bit difficult to digest.

“The music is a mix between electronica, 70’s songwriting, and honest hard rock,” stated Steffey, who also described Roadstar as an album that “celebrates the ascent of life from the waters 420 million years ago and uses that symbol to represent the current dawning of the Aquarian Age today.”

Somewhat impressive is the fact that not only does Steffey write all the music on the eleven song album, but also that he plays all the instruments, including guitars, drums, and of course a synthesizer. Unlike other one-man bands however, Steffey seems to come off as a “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

“I’m a total hack, but I can keep time,” Steffey stated.

What seem completely separate from Steffey’s music are the lyrics that accompany his songs. When read separately from the music, the lyrics can easily stand alone as excellent pieces of poetry. While the sounds of Roadstar do not make such a great impression, with flat rhythms that want for variation, the lyrics are a clear reflection of Steffey’s talent with words.

“I have a multilayered approach when it comes to words,” Steffey stated. “I always try to make the top layer totally accessible, catchy and a little poppy. Then I obscure pronouns and make little trap-doors of entendre so a tiny universe opens up underneath for the exploring.”

Chicago-Music-Scene.com gives a somewhat comical but quite accurate description of Steffey’s Roadstar: “Sade making out with Soundgarden in Thomas Dolby’s hottub while T.S. Eliot reads The Celestine Prophesy.”

Perhaps William should give it another shot. Or perhaps he should do what he seems to do best and stick to poetry and prose.

-Cory Malone

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