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Steve Conte

Steve Conte and the Crazy Truth

Review by Larry Toering

I am a fan of Steve Conte, but I present this solo CD with as little bias concerning that as possible. I also have to say it also has everything for the rock lover, so I recommend it to anyone either way. In fact that's what he has for me, everything needed from a rock artist today. “The Crazy Truth” is a title influenced by an author, as far as I know, but it suits the disc perfectly, and features players Lee 'Leeko' Kostrinsky and Phil Stewart, to round out a powerhouse post punk trio. After a successful stint with the New York Dolls, and currently playing in the Michael Monroe Band, this solo outing went a little under the radar between those two otherwise higher profile gigs.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
This Is The End

A cracking garage sort of drum beat sets up the monster grooves that kick in with the vocals, as Conte carries on about the times and how what he is doing can reflect that no nonsense approach to life. He goes on to express that it's better to look on the bright side and just get on with the show, whatever show you may be putting on in life. This is a killer opener that refuses to leave one's head once it’s heard. It’s a huge slice of perfection that stands up to anything else offered up here.

Gypsy Cab

There is no way to find a down side to this awesome track. It has everything for the music lover. This was pulled off in a style only he can achieve, as this is Conte through and through. There is an accompanying video clip to this track, and it adds the icing to the proverbial cake on a track that is fantastic in every way. This is just perfect.

Texas T

This is a track full of up and down moods, as it often goes from subdued to bombastic, filled with attitude galore. At first listen there doesn't appear to be much of a substantial song here, but that changes real fast as it starts to immediately grow on the ears. I find it to be as good as anything on the disc.

The Goods Are Odd

This features none other than David Johansen providing a great harmonica hook that glides along in just the right places. There is no mistaking his highly Jagger influenced harping prowess, which is one of the things for which he is criminally underrated. Here lies a track that is full of comic relief and outgoing vibes, as Conte explains where the rules end and the fun begins. It's a hugely infectious number that once again is difficult to get out of your head once you absorb it.

Get Off

This track steps things up in the attitude department, which is already boiling hard thus far. It's another lyrically humorous approach with a rhythm section to die for. If I had to pick a favorite here, this would be it, as it contains a marvelous bridge that I just love. That’s the sort of thing Conte is obviously in demand for concerning his songwriting skills. It really is where the whole disc contains its peak for me.

The Truth Ain't Pretty

Losing no steam whatsoever, things do take a turn here as it gets a little more social-political and personally intimate in the lyrical department. It's so hard not to like this track, with its reality based content and killer hooks.That’s not to mention Conte’s fantastic guitar playing which blends so evenly with that much vouched, yet rather humble virtuosity. It lures the listener here just as much as anywhere else in this collection of self driven tunes with the perfect mix of grit and glam.

Her Highness

This stands out as another favorite of mine, although it's one of the quieter tracks. It hits home perfectly in the lyric department, which hits the soft spot with ease.

Busload Of Hope

The first thing that comes to mind here is Lou Reed, who had a similarly titled track. It is more than likely a nod to the legendary and often misunderstood icon. However, Conte really worked his own magic and leaves said nod as the intricate compliment it is. Not a step is lost at this point either, as the infectious factor doesn't seem to let up anywhere.

Strumpet-Hearted Monkey Girl

This is likely the most humorous number on the disc, which features a more personal theme. It doesn't matter, as it still contains plenty of the foremost ingredients to be heard throughout.

Indie Girl

Getting quiet once more, this is appropriately placed right here, and once again he gets personal about someone he fancies, so to speak. Somehow I can't see this disc without including such a smitten little number as this.

Junk Planet

The disc comes to a close with one of the more energetic numbers. It could have easily been placed closer to the beginning of the album, but it somehow found its home at the end. Either way it proceeds to knock heads with the best of them, with more than the average instrumentation. There are some other cool factors, such as some spoken word parts. All in all, it's a fabulous way to take out this fine piece of work from an understated, yet great artist who plays, sings and writes as good as anyone banging away in today's musical landscape.

 
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