In Steel Crane's new song, “Pretty,” — the first single to be released from their upcoming sophomore album, Tango — rollicking drums and bass collide with salacious guitar licks to create a moody, grunge-rock tune revolving around the topic of prettiness.
It's almost hard to believe that the song was created by a duo, consisting of Tracy Shapiro (vocals, guitar) and Amanda Schukle (drums, bass, guitar, keys), because there's just so damn much going on in it. Throughout the track, tempos boomerang, transitioning from deep, harmonic chords to explosions of thundering drums and chaotic bass, before easing back down with some titillating high-hats. And, on top of it all, there is Shapiro's languid, raspy voice, reminiscent of an early Courtney Love.
[jump] The song itself is both personal and impersonal, says Shapiro. “It's born from a period where I felt surrounded by betrayal in my life and in the lives of people close to me,” she says. “I was thinking a lot about the visible and invisible forces constantly at play, informing people's choices and behavior.”
Tango, which comes out August 5, is the band's first new album since 2013's Ouroboros. The duo decided to write, record, and produce this album themselves, which not only allowed them more freedom and creative control, but also a whole lot more time to work on it.
“We’d been playing some of these songs live for a while and we heard more in them,” says Schukle. “More texture, more nuance, more melody, more guitar tones. Tango has a lot more of a post-punk vibe, definitely some grunge, maybe a little classic rock, and also some generally weird shit that I’m not sure how to describe. But it is also more beautiful.”
Make sure to catch Steel Cranes at their upcoming shows this August:
Friday, August 12 at The Crepe Place in Santa Cruz
Saturday, August 13 at The Golden Bull in Oakland
Sunday, August 14, at Winters Tavern in Pacifica