By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Album Review: Fastball’s Step Into Light-Release date May 19, 2017
Back in 1998 I played Fastball’s “All the Pain Money Can Buy over and over—and not because of the songs “The Way”, “Fire Escape”, or “Out of My Head”—but the entire collection on the CD. Each song was a keeper and there were no stinkers in the bunch! It was in my top 5 favorite CDs of the 1990s and listening to it brings back memories of driving in my old boyfriend’s Acura and slow dancing in the living room. In the Millennium, I never really heard of Fastball again (although they were actively a band making albums). I actually wondered if they were still together making music.
I was really excited to hear this Spring that the three original members Tony Scalzo (vocals, bass, guitar), Joey Shuffield (drums), and Miles Zuniga (vocals, guitar) were coming out with a new album called Step Into Light. It was officially released on May 19, 2017 and I have to say, it is the album of the Summer of 2017. They did it again! Each song on the album has the same infectious, catchy melodies, harmonies, and upbeat themes of love and friendship—exactly what is needed at this juncture in these times—and in my life. The songs are all well-structured, danceable, and different in their own special way, so not to sound monotonous. The album is really fresh! Some have a retro 70s or New Wave 80s feel, while others sound straight out of the 60s Brit-pop or mod era. This is feel good music!
I listened to each song and composed my impression of each, as follows:
We’re On Our Way—fast, hard-driving, upbeat song with great harmonies. This is the perfect song to listen to in the car on your way to a party or a vacation drive.
Best Friend—This song has a 70s sound with an infectious guitar and keyboard riff that asks, “Wouldn’t you like to be my best friend?”
Behind the Sun—This song may be my favorite from an earworm standpoint because of the haunting acoustic guitar melody and beautiful harmonies. The lyrics say, “No one knows me/no one knows what I’ve done/ I’ve been hiding behind the sun.” The bridge slides into a minor key and appears even more haunting. “Behind the Sun” is the kind of song Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young could have sung in the day.
I Will Never Let You Down—This upbeat country rock tune has the twangy lead guitar and is structured as a traditional melody (chord changes, chorus), making it a real two-tapper. I can picture folks doing the two-step to this in a honky tonk bar as the lyrics say, “I’m not too pretty/once you reach the nitty-gritty/I’m not the nicest guy in town/ I might forget what I say/but at the end of the day/ I’ll never let you down.” The video is really cute as it pokes fun at speed dating.
Love Comes in Waves—When I started listening I felt kind of an 80s New Wave inspiration with its fast, steady beat and bass line. It’s really catchy!
Step Into Light—This song is slow, swaying, and features pretty harmonies and a waltz beat.
Just Another Dream—This song is up tempo and reminds me of “The Way” with its rhyming chorus and sing-along style. The sentiment is sweet and it feels good to listen to it.
Tanzania—This instrumental reminds me of a Dick Dale surf rock song which has a descending minor chord melody with a “gypsy feel”. There’s both cool guitar and keyboard riffs which drive it along.
Secret Agent Love—Listening to this song gave me a New Wave yet very 60s/80s feeling with its catchy melody, machine gun drum beat, and guitar.
Hung Up—This song starts out with heavy guitar chords and drums which reminded me of the 60s Brit sound (think Small Faces). There’s plenty of “la-la-las” and I can picture myself dancing “The Pony” to it.
Lillian Gish—The song starts with a Beatles/Sergeant Pepper sound and then flows into a full 60s Brit-Pop sound with string and piano accompaniment.
Frenchy and the Punk—The song is a swaying, waltzing, melodic, French infused melody and vocals recorded with a nostalgic feel. The song speeds up and then takes on a 60s Brit sound.
Overall, I highly recommend fans of alt rock, modern rock, or good all-around rock/pop songs to give this album a try. It may be your favorite album of the Summer too!
I grew up in a household full of rock music, studied journalism in college, and then became a scientist.Although my science career has served me well, music has always played a major role in my life. I grew up reading "Creem" magazine; I play several musical instruments as a "hobby";and it seems a camera has always been in my hand. Now, I am combining what I love the most--music and photography--serving as editor of Rock At Night. My motto: life is short...no regrets. Chyrisse