Friday, July 28, 2017

ANDFL Review - Sponic

Sponic

I’ve missed the roaring guitars of the Afghan Whigs. I’ve also missed their willingness to play it big and to play it loud and to play it with their heart on their sleeve. For all of Greg Dulli’s tongue in cheek (and tongue-in-God-knows-what-else) vocalizing and posturing, he was never less than genuine-whether it was genuinely snarky or genuinely flaying open his personal wounds for the audience.

So what’s with all this Dulli-talk before the Stepford Five review? Well, fellow Ohioans Stepford Five have been taking notes from Mr. Supalove, and while their music lacks the tragic lover-man, come-lay-down-by-me-girl thrust of the Whigs, their music does pick up the Whigs’ penchant for huge, multi-layered guitar work augmented by lovely harmonies.

A New Design for Living is spit-shined and polished, a solid as a brick shithouse work of rock. Cuts “Recognition for the Lonely Ones” and “No Use” prove their chops at bashing out potent pop. And when they strip their tunes to the quick, as on the lovely “Ted Hughes” which boasts a driving cello part, the Stepford Five more than fulfill the promise of their earlier work.

A New Design for Living is far from perfect; the super clean production bleeds some of the character from their arrangements and the record’s energy begins to flag as it goes on. It is, however, an accomplished record, and one that indicates a big talent on the verge of bigger things. - Erik Pepple

Thursday, July 27, 2017

ANDFL Review - Splendid Magazine

Splendid Magazine

If there is indeed honor in never giving up and "staying the course", as George Bushes I or II might say, Columbus's Stepford Five deserve a purple heart for their steadfast cling to a very tattered sound. After a couple EPs and what has now been three full-lengths, the band have scarcely altered their punchy emo/alterna-rock sound. They've been called "radio-ready" for more than four years now, but I've yet to hear them on my local commercial rock station. Why? The reason has something to do with their independent integrity, the fact that I don't listen to my local commercial rock station or the fact that there's something curiously catatonic about the Stepford Five's heartfelt post-hardcore sturm und drang.

They're adequate at going through the motions. A trace of the band's energy is there, and their long time together has left them well oiled and tight (and better produced). "No Use", with its chiming arpeggios and olympic drumming, commands attention, but most of A New Design for Living is so stiltedly derivative of already questionable bands like Gameface and even Creed ("Last Possibility") that merely paying attention becomes a taxing effort. Add to that Keith Jenkins's hoarse voice, which completely lacks range, and you're left with a third album that simply doesn't demonstrate any improvement. I'm not saying that it's time for the Stepford Five to give up, but maybe they should rethink that whole "staying the course" thing. -- Justin Stewart

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

ANDFL Review - Impact Press

IMPACT logo
The fourth release from this four piece from Ohio is a good solid rock record. While I personally tend to get bored with some of this at times it still is entertaining when it comes to being pretty straight forward rock. Some tempo changes wouldn't hurt, and Keith Jenkins slightly airy, slightly raspy voice tends to just lose me at times. The guitar work is extensive and good, it is definitely nice to hear some musicians truly play their instrument well. Overall this is a good CD, but it lacks something indefinable at times. (MC)



Impact Press

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

ANDFL Review - Bettawreckonize

Bettawreckonize

Imagine if a local band that you always thought were “eh, decent,” finally got their shit together and put out a great record that is astoundingly well produced. The Stepford Five is kicking ass all over the place on what is, in my opinion, one of the better rock and roll albums to come out of the Ohio area in a while. I don’t consider it a put down to say that they’re not trying to do anything more than rock here, slightly edging in with the almost math rock sound that helped make Braid noteworthy. There are a few quieter and slower paced tracks, like the lyrically creeping “Ted Hughes,” but even those songs manage to rock just enough to trickle right in and flow with the rest of the record. Unfortunately, I’m sure some pretentious reviewer will turn their nose up at this record for being “overproduced,” but they can eat it. Even my dad likes this record. Go out for a nice long freeway drive, roll your windows down, and crank this one. - Tim Anderl

Monday, July 24, 2017

ANDFL Review - ReadMag

ReadMag

Great melodic indie with a slight REM vibe. Not a fan of the genre and got bored midway, but indie aficionados will dig it.

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