The Rule Of Three is the third album from Steel Threads and also signifies their restoration to a trio with the addition of Tracy Beardmore on bass, violin and vocals.
The first track is typical of the band’s style. ‘Helpless’ begins gently with acoustic instruments and then the bass thunders in and we’re off. ‘Next Time’ follows a similar pattern with Neil Wardleworth’s kick drum driving the ending. Wardleworth hands over the lead vocals to Laura Wilcockson for ‘Made You This Way’ with chugging violins underpinning the song. ‘All This Time’ goes for a flat-out rock sound with big backing vocals from Laura and Tracy and a gorgeous fiddle break.
‘Over Before You Begun’ is the one song we’ve heard before – as a bonus track on the Live EP. It’s a bit wistful but Neil can’t curtail the power of his vocals even though the backing is pared back to acoustic guitar and violins. It has been said before that the best way to hear Steel Threads is live and there is sense of restrained power about this whole album. You can almost hear them itching to get out there on stage and play. There’s a touch of electric guitar at the end of ‘Take My Chances’ that suggests a big solo waiting to be unleashed and Neil takes one in ‘Touch The Stars’ that will be a thing of joy on stage.
Actually, Steel Threads should really be a six-piece with a second guitarist, a drummer and a bass player to allow Tracy and Laura free rein as a twin violin front line on stage. That’s pretty much what they are doing on this record, getting the most out of every song. There’s plenty of variety and you can’t help thinking that each track is even better than the previous one and even with the penultimate ‘At The Start Again’ they throw in something you haven’t heard before.
I’d like to think that The Rule Of Three will be Steel Threads’ breakthrough album. It’s certainly as good as anything else you’ll hear before Christmas.
‘All This Time’, Steel Threads’ most recent single: