Steve J. Allen is working on his music in his own uncompromising way and he has no intention of being tied down or held back by anyone else’s expectations of him. He grew up in Peterborough, toured with punk bands from a young age and musically came of age in Sheffield, where he worked and lived for over 10 years before moving temporarily to South East Asia. His debut record Wreck The Place, released in 2014 via Righteous Anger Records/Labelship fell mostly into the punk category.
On Contrast the sentiment of raw and angry energy has evolved into a wider range of stylistic features and emotions. A rather personal song about the loss of an early friend (For Joe), a psychedelic ballad (Other World) and even a couple of experimental numbers (The Anchor, Mystery Interlude II) were strewn-in.
All in all Contrast is still an upbeat and straightforward record consisting of short and catchy tunes. Acoustic guitars, voice and harmonica typically shape most of SJA’s sound and the majority of the songs were tracked live in a three-piece band setting. It was recorded mostly in sporadic sessions and finished with an array of guest musicians from the Sheffield scene.
The songs were written over many years, during epic tours and wanderings across the globe. Possessing both the spirit of a troubadour and a fierce performer, on this album SJA combines the two worlds of singer-songwriter introspection and raw and furious energy.
“To me, this album is organic, imperfect and open to suggestion. I enjoy it, and that’s all I really care about.’
Old Friend is the first single to be released from this record. It is a song about reconnecting with a childlike trust of your intuition. It almost feels topical of our time in which people have to make many intuitive adjustments.
Indistinct Chatter, Means To An End and Slap In The Face are equally representative numbers with lyrics that allow an insight into some of SJA’s most significant experiences, life episodes and human connections.