Sunday, 23 December 2012

The Stepkids - The Stepkids

Funky times are here again! Awesome retro tinged psych-soul from Connecticut three-piece.

As our hunger for all things authentic and soulful continues it's only a matter of time before the soul revival gets around to re-visiting the era when when soul met psych. And that's what The Stepkids are serving up here on their delightfully funky debut album. Hot on the heels of a series of limited 12” vinyl releases, the Connecticut three-piece's self titled album conjures up sounds reminiscent of post Monterey soul, think The Temptations, Shuggie Otis, Funkadelic and Rotary Connection. Though there's more to it than that; a willingness to experiment, some exquisite baroque touches, along with sunshine pop harmonies.

Recorded on analogue tape much like the records in their collections, the album begins with fittingly titled Intro, a slow 'n' swampy soul gumbo worthy of Dr. John. Distant vocals appear out of the mist over a spacey bass, conga and slide guitar before the track nicely leads into the more urbane Brain Ninja. This sounds like the theme to some long lost 70's cop show, a deliciously daft song complete with wah wah guitar, alternating falsetto, tenor and bass vocals. It lives up to its title as I've not been able to get it out of my head since first hearing it. There's a video online which despite owing much to the Beastie Boys' Sabotage video is worth a look. 

Click over the jump for more on The Stepkids.
Suburban Dream follows with alternating sections, at times drenched in modern synths, otherwise more of a spatial dub prevails. Shadows On My Behalf sounds like a collaboration between Animal Collective and The 5th Dimension. The stoned soul groove continues with Legend In My Own Mind which sounds like Jimi Hendrix at his most fluid and soulful, the lyrics poking fun at anyone whose ego outweighs their talent.

The three members are all accomplished players with varying backgrounds that have included stints as touring session musicians, playing on the East Coast jazz circuit, scoring movies and commercials.

It would seem that forming The Stepkids has been instrumental in these 3 musicians re-finding a sense of fun in making music rather than it being overly academic and laboured. For while the music is uptight and outta sight, unlike a lot of modern soul it doesn't take itself too seriously. Guaranteed to make your party swing, get with the groove brothers and sisters!

Click here for The Stepkids' website.