Australian singer/songwriter Victor Steele, it was a crushing experience with the TV talent show X-Factor that not only helped provide the title of his sterling new EP, V-Factor, but also the storyline behind the track, “Pretence.” It’s all there, the smashed hopes and corporate deceit. Oddly enough, Steele just might find more success beyond that less-than-credible program; several tracks on this collection have already found their way onto regional and even U.S. radio, FM and online.
Steele has a warm, soulful voice that recalls Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He is used to the comparison. It’s not intentional, though. While “Gonna Be There” is somewhat reminiscent of the Peppers’ slow jams, there is a rootsy quality to Steele’s music that steers it closer to adult rock and even country. The guitars certainly jangle on “Can’t Wait,” and they are as comforting to the ear as Steele’s friendly vocals.
If there is an autobiographical feel to Steele’s lyrics, it’s because they are tales from his own life. “Better Than This” is quite possibly the prettiest of the tracks here, decorated with lovely keyboards and the lush romanticism of Steele’s swooning voice.