Hello and welcome back to Totally Obsessed, a little segment where I talk about the thing that has be going completely gaga during a given week. This week is one that I considered doing last week for the first post, but waited as I wanted to really obsess over their music a bit longer. To many, the band I’m about to talk about is going to seem a bit odd and less than conventional, but stick with me here, because Steam Powered Giraffe is one of the quirkiest little indie bands you’ll ever come across. Even if this isn’t your music preference, you owe it to yourself to at least give them a chance.
Back in 2008, twin siblings David Michael Bennett and Isabella “Bunny” Bennett got together with some other talented folks including performing artist Samuel Luke and created Steam Powered Giraffe, a musical project which has its roots in Vaudeville acts to Cabaret theater. The group takes on the personas of very old, steam powered automatons. To see them perform is not to merely listen to music, it is more an act of falling into this fictional world in order to learn about these characters, have a few laughs and maybe even learn a thing or two. Take a look at their performance below and you’ll see what I mean. This is not your average concert.
In fact, the group even has a fictional background to explain why you might be watching singing robots on stage. It seems that wealthy San Diego inventor, Colonel Peter A. Walter designed them in 1986 to be war robots. After the war, they were retooled to be entertainers. On the band’s official website, which I’ll link below, you can even see a timeline of great historical performances as well as in-depth character bios. Currently the band is made up of Rabbit, played by Isabella “Bunny” Bennett, The Spine, played by David Michael Bennett and Hatchworth, played by Sam Luke. This isn’t simply a band, it’s a story conceptualized over different mediums, from their music to comics, to their website, and all of it comes together to create a truly unique group.
This is all well and good, but what makes me so obsessed with this group? For one, the music is simply unlike anything else roaming around on my iPhone. Its folksy like the songs you sang at camp, yet the lyrics speak of deeper truths, asking us to analyze whether or not we truly have a soul, or whether we can be dysfunctional yet still alive. Listen to any song once and you’ll hear a funny song about robots, but listen to it multiple times and you start to hear a deeper message about individuality and finding purpose in the world. Beyond the folksy sound, synthesizers and sci-fi effects are added to give the music a space opera feel.
I’d first come into the knowledge of Steam Powered Giraffe years ago when a friend introduced me to their first album, Album One, which I knew I liked, but never really pursued them as a group. A few weeks ago, they released their newest album, Quintessential, which sent me down the path of collecting all of their music and listening to all of it in full. And while their newest album is what brought me back, I have to say that their 2014 release The Vice Quadrant is easily my favorite of their work. Essentially, it’s a two CD long space opera which tells the story of Rabbit, one of the main characters of Steam Powered Giraffe being tampered with. His power core explodes, fracturing the space-time continuum and creating two parallel universes. It’s a crazy story about space whales and and space giants as well as a sentient satellite. And all of this is told through this amazing folk-rock that brought me joy, sadness and excitement by the end. If you want to know more about the story, there is a full time line with amazing artwork HERE.
I can’t say enough great things about their group. Like I said from the start, we all have different music taste, and this would not typically be something I’d be into, but their music and the performance of their characters as they sputter steam and question each other’s intellect is so charming and endearing that I can’t help but love them. If you like folk rock, robots or simply have a taste for music that gets stuck in your head so that you can hum it all day long, this is a group that you owe it to yourself to check out. Just when I think I’ve found my favorite song, I really hear the lyrics to another and realize that I’ve found a new one. They’re so much fun and always entertaining.
Are you obsessed with a band, movie, comic, anime, TV show or video game…or something else?? Want me to check it out? Let me know about it in the comments! Let’s share obsessions in the hope of discovering new amazing things together!