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Cleveland Steamers Still Sound Accessible on Sophomore Effort 

Album Review

The Cleveland Steamers

Who’s Next?

(Smog Veil)

On the follow-up to his 2013 solo debut, Cheese Borger and the Cleveland Steamers, Cheese Borger continues to make music that’s surprisingly accessible. Given his past as the bassist in the Pink Holes, one of Cleveland’s most outrageous punk acts, you’d expect Borger's music to be a difficult listen. But it’s simply not the case. Album opener “Standing in Line” features harmony vocals and a catchy guitar riff as the song drones with a simmering, Velvet Underground-like intensity. With its ringing bells, the title track takes a page out of AC/DC’s musical playbook. Other highlights: A wailing saxophone riff propels “Dance Baby!” and “Nothing at All” begins with a bit of tempered feedback before kicking into high gear with a thick bass riff and ringing guitars. Vocals aren’t Borger’s strong suit — he speaks more than he sings — but the songwriting is so sharp here, it’s easy to cut him some slack. And his better half, guest singer Meredith Rutledge, has a supple voice that contrasts nicely with Borger’s.

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