The backlash against Austin-based pop rock trio Fastball came pretty fast, even by modern pop culture standards. Their sophomore effort, 1998’s ‘All the Pain Money Can’t Buy,’ spun off three really big hits: “The Way,” “Out of My Head” and “Fire Escape.” All three were decent, fun pop songs, but far from being the best representation of the band. Their (over?) exposure quickly and inexplicably made them persona non-grata among the musical tastemakers and wanna be tastemakers, which was a shame because two of the band’s latter releases, 2004s ‘Keep Your Wig On’ and 2009’s ‘Little White Lies’ showed Fastball evolving into a stellar group of musicians, writing one great song after another. But the damage was done and all but the diehard fans had moved on.
It’s been eight years since Fastball last put out an album, but the wait has done little to blunt their brilliance. ‘Step Into Light’ is likely their best effort yet, finding the band writing some of their best songs to date. Except for the catchy “Love Comes in Waves,” that was released as a digital single four years ago.
There is not a false step taken on ‘Step Into Light’ as everything from the driving instrumental “Tanzania,” to power pop beauties like “I Will Never Let You Down” and “Hung Up,” and the sublimely perfect album closer “Frenchy And The Punk” prove the band is in currently in their prime.
Too bad, it’s almost a decade after many, but the devoted fans stopped listening. Fuck ‘em, they’re the ones missing out.