Fortunately for me, Walter Sickert and friends unveiled this record in 2010 instead of 1996, when it would've terrified me into a coma. When I was 12, "Man That You Fear" by Marilyn Manson struck me as the most evil thing ever, and I considered my mother wise to forbid me to hear such wickedness.
Although most of the similarities between Sickert and Manson have nothing to do with music, my mom wouldn't approve of either, and my automatic reaction to Steam Ship recalls my pre-teen reaction to that particular Manson song. Sickert and the Toys broadcast the sound of hapless, doe-eyed innocence gazing into the abyss — which counterintuitively makes for highly enjoyable listening.
The sheer magnitude of Sickert and company's apocalypse folk appears to have mushroomed in proportion to their roster — formerly comprising just Sickert and Edrie Edrie, now something akin to a 15-player circus of doom. Sickert's ghostly howl puts an exclamation point on creeping, classical, string-heavy waltzes such as "Cataclysm" and "Sea Song (Mare Carmen)." Meanwhile, "Heroin Pig" may well be the most charming ballad of all time to include the words "heroin" and "pig" in the title.