Steve’n’Seagulls – Farm Machine (2015) – I think what struck me the most about Steve’n’Seagulls was that they weren’t American. The band actually hails from the Finnish countryside. Although these gentlemen do not inhabit the Ozarks or the Appalachian hills, they certainly have a great grasp on the essence of American Bluegrass music.
The very first thing I noticed about Steve’n’Seagulls when I began listening to their upcoming release due on the twelfth of May, of what I believe is their first record, Farm Machine, was the incredible adaptability these men are in possession of as musicians to be able to take such classic metal works and make them flourish symbiotically with this five piece ensemble. According to the press release by Spinefarm Records, “The five-piece act is comprised of an acoustic guitar player who also leads on vocals, a banjo player, a big dude wearing overalls and a beaver hat playing mandolin and/or keyboards and/or accordion, a double-bassist and a percussionist squatting on a cajon drum.”
The fact that this much metal is being covered with only a single cajon drum just baffles me to be honest. Although at times the accordion sounded a bit Polka-ish, the stand-up bass is well worth more than just a mention; I am not sure the act could have held their own without a killer bassist to come in and pick up where ‘el cajon naturally falls short. My favorite metal cover in Bluegrass al’ a Finnish-style, was definitely Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters.” Then again, there are so many other good covers it is entirely unfair for me to be such a biased judge, but I do have a certain affinity with Metallica’s self-titled release. However, I definitely wouldn’t be doing the album, Farm Machine, any justice without mentioning their entertaining and thoroughly fun-making Bluegrass cover of AC/DC’s, “You Shook Me All Night Long.”
Lacking nothing in talent, wanting nothing in voice or accent, it really is a surprise how well these men understand Bluegrass, but I suppose the countryside is the countryside no matter where you grow up. That must be why a group of skilled musicians would get together to cover Metal classics in this backwoods way, so I am guessing. Somehow, the sounds made by those living here in the countryside at one time influenced these men, but not just by the traditional sound of Bluegrass, the fact that it is Bluegrass covers of Metal songs I know and love well just makes it all the more dynamic of a creation. Do by all means, listen to Farm Machine at least once through your headset, but it would also be fun music to play in the background amongst a gathering of friends. No matter what, the least I can say about this thoroughly American swamp-land looking quintet from Finland is, it’s a listen you certainly won’t regret.