steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Rust Belt Music

"Deborah" CD

Sub-Trawler Records

Genres: alt. country, pop, indie rock

e-mail the band

Apr 7 - 13 2003

Rust Belt Music play a sort of pop-based alt. country hybrid that is at once epic and catchy.  Deborah, their debut, is a nice album, but one that is not without its problems.  It's obvious the band will need to change a few things for their next full-length, but that doesn't mean Deborah can't be enjoyed in the meantime.

The songs on Deborah have nice melodies, but some are more atmosphere-oriented than they are catchy.  This, of course, means that the songs have really good feels to them - they are very warm, yet still calmly melancholic.  On the irritating side, the vocals aren't recorded properly, often too quiet in comparison to the songs' other instruments.  As well, the album seems a bit longer than it needs to be, dragging a bit at parts.

"Beer Can on the Side of the Road" is a good example of Rust Belt Music's sound.  A laidback, catchy number, it boasts a nice Meat Puppets-esque organ part, as well as the band's bizarrely minimal vocals.  The "Love in the..." trilogy, meanwhile, sees the band at their best; it's an epic track that makes great use of a really pleasant piano part.  "M Tagged J" is also a winner, with a very dark, moody atmosphere.  On the downside, finale "Bedford Fell" lacks any fantastic melodies, sounding like a less edgy Radiohead tune, except more painfully dreary.

To improve, the band may want to fix their recording style, especially in regards to their vocals.  As well, it would be best if they pared down some of the less fantastic tracks on their next album, concentrating the good bits that they have proven themselves capable of producing.  The "Love in the..." trilogy would work better as a finale than "Bedford Fell."

All in all, this is a nice album that has its problems but is still a perfectly good pop diversion for alt. country enthusiasts, as well as those just looking to put a bit more melancholy in their diet.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 13 songs, distributed by CD Baby, released 2002]