A horrible hack

Ste McCabe

Bad Kitty

Year Released: 2012
Format: CD
Label: Cherryade Records
Reviewed by Toby on Apr 23, 2013
I’m a big fan of Cherryade Records, I love their commitment to twee, the way they somehow get away with using comic sans on their website and most of all their awesome roster of bands such as The Lovely Eggs and The Bobby McGees who demonstrate how to harness pop perfection with the bitter sweet realities of life. So where does Ste McCabe fit in here? Well there’s certainly some pop hooks going on but the lyrics and indeed a lot of the music are far too angry and politicised to be tucked under the twee umbrella and in this album’s case that’s certainly a good thing.

I guess a good starting point would be Cherryade’s own description of Ste “Manchester's political queer pop-punkster, blending big punk guitars and 80s-style beats with a snarling, sarcastic view of the world”. For a press release that’s actually pretty accurate (unless he’s really from Macclesfield). Ste is a one-man-band (guitar and laptop I believe), with a strong line in vitriol fueled assaults on homophobes, right wing politicians and capitalism. Lyrically Ste is able to balance anger with a nice line in couplets and articulation but I do think there’s a bit of a confusion when it comes to the music; it might be my lack of experience in this field but there seems to be a clash between styles here at times – most songs contain a real buzz-saw guitar sound which doesn’t always match up with the electronic beats and fuzz bass effect that tends to hang in the background. When they sounds do match up I’m reminded of a one man Mr T Experience whilst at other times it sounds a bit Bis (and not a bad thing either!). I guess for me it seems like this should either be a three piece pop-punk band with a real bass and drummer or more time should be spent working on beats and electronic noises to take it down that route a bit more.

However (and it’s a big however) this is a really good album, and these criticisms are less about putting the release down and more about how it can get even better next time. If you’re into pop-punk bands like MTX, Pansy Division or Pinhead Gunpowder then you’ll certainly enjoy some of the songs here, if you’re into bands like the aforementioned Bis or a more disco influenced Manic Street Preachers (that sounded better in my head) then you’ll probably like it even more. Me? I think I really need to see Ste live before I can make a judgement as to whether this sound clash works for me, as an album though it’s more like two EPs exploring different sounds.

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