Steve’n’Seagulls - Brothers in Farms - (8.5/10)
Published on September 12, 2016
In 2014 Finnish Steve ‘N’ Seagulls became an overnight sensation with a series of YouTube videos of their bluegrass cover versions of rock and metal songs, with “Thunderstruck” by now leading the gang with over 25 million views. It led to their debut album Farm Machine seeing the light of day in 2015 via Spinefarm Records and now their sophomore release Brothers in Farms is in the starting blocks to wow the masses.
Their approach is still the same, the kind of songs they cover as well, but while this continuity probably is greatly aiding their continued success. This time around the band takes on Iron Maiden, Metallica, Nightwish, AC/DC, Guns’N Roses, Nirvana, Megadeth, Deep Purple, Foo Fighters, Offspring, Gary Moore/Phil Lynnott and Steppenwolf, so a quite illustrious bunch of names once more.
And it is amazing to hear how these songs work in this stripped down environment, “Aces High” takes on a completely feeling with the acoustic guitar and mandolin and the accordion really is a very interesting element in this song. Metallica’s “Sad But True” is even almost unrecognizable, while “Wishmaster” is the band’s maybe most ambitious undertaking so far (with the exception of the arpeggio of “Thunderstruck”) and outside of the chorus, the powerful track sounds nothing like the symphonic metal greats. One thing that becomes clear fairly quickly is that the overall atmosphere of Brothers in Farms is far more relaxed than on the debut, which could be a hurdle for some fans that got swept away by Farm Machine.
Just like with the debut, a pleasant side effect of Steve N Seagulls’ approach is that a lot of the lyrics are far easier to understand than with the originals, especially AC/DC… Other highlights are Guns N’Roses’ “You Could be Mine”, “Symphony of Destruction”, “Burn” and “Self Esteem”, with “Out in the Fields” probably qualifying as the by far heaviest track the Finns have ever recorded!
There always is a latent danger of a small niche like this burning itself out pretty quickly, but the history shows that bands such as Hayseed Dixie and Iron Horse have shown tremendous longevity. Either way, the more relaxed atmosphere over good parts of the album might distract a few people, but it does not take anything away from the fact that Steve N’Seagulls is one of the scene’s most original acts and their bluegrass covers just work, plain and simple!