Sound: Abney Park is a strange little band. I'm not going to pretend that I know too too much about steampunk, especially at the risk of being incorrect in my facts, but Abney Park fits most steampunk goers description of the steampunk scene. For clarification, steampunk is a subgenre of fantasy which if often set in the victorian era and where most (or all) mechinical devices are run on or evolved from steam powered means. Think rustic textures, large floating airships, and things of that sort.
But that brings me to the peculiar band itself, Abney Park try to put music to this subgenre and are placed under a microscope for attempting it. The band itself is characterized by fairly 'big' sounding songs that are synth, string and percussion driven with perfect accents of electric guitar and so-called 'world' instruments. Though the band is also capable of producing dance beat driven tracks and pure rock and punk tracks, those these often have that trade mark ethnic twist to them. The sound itself is fairly unique, but perhaps requires a...acquired taste to completely appreciate.
Abney park also specializes in their live shows, which is almost half the experience of the band and when you do see/experience their live shows the music alone is barely able to do justice to what you've seen and sometimes leaves you with an empty feeling. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics are almost completely steampunk related. Such as the song "Airship Pirates". A song that boasts about how the singer and his crew are, well, airship pirates. Or "The Secret Life of Dr. Calgori" which is about a mad scientist experimenting with steampunk technology. Sometimes the lyrics become downright cheesy in their descriptions and aren't at all helped by the singers overly breathy voice. Although, there is a lovely female member of the band who takes lead, or more often, back up vocals on a few tracks. Songs like "Sleep Isabella" show off her amazingly clear vocals in a perfect fashion. // 7
Overall Impression: The album shines as a unique experience, but sometimes it sounds like you're hearing the same thing and that there's plenty of so-called 'filler'. Though tracks like "Sleep Isabella" and "The Dark and Twisty Road" shine through as wonderful reasons to at least take a listen to the band, though it may not guarantee that you'll enjoy the band itself. The album is produced with a very crisp and clean quality, which I'm not quite sure if I like; afterall, this is supposed to be a steampunk album, a product of a subculture that seems to embrace grittiness and grainy quality. Though the entire album brings itself together flawlessly and is an enjoyable listen, despite maybe taking a few listens through to completely understand. // 7