Monday, July 21, 2003

Full Review: July 21, 2003

Full review of the Six EP from July 21st, 2003 by Heidi Drockelman of from the book Are You Making A Sound? The History of The Stepford Five.

It’s probably no secret at this point that I’m becoming a regular fan of this band. From the first material that I heard on Mesh, to their follow-up with The Art of Self-Defense, I’ve had the pleasure of hearing the growth that The Stepford Five has undergone over the past several years. And while I enjoy doing one-off reviews of artists, being able to follow and track the progression of a band can offer some interesting insight into how their particular machine works and moves forward together.

With this carefully chosen set of four songs on this EP, The Stepford Five has taken their brand of confident, guitar-driven melancholic melody and pushed themselves even further into the role of a mature band exploring even more facets of their potential as songwriters and artists. And in so doing, they haven’t lost that fearless sense of themselves that brings the passion and intensity into their now signature sound. I’ve drawn many comparisons between this band and two bands in particular - their now-defunct brilliant Ohio brethren the Afghan Whigs and the equally genius Catherine Wheel. And the touches of influence are still there, but they’re starting to blend into the background as just that as The Stepford Five push their personality even further forward. And you have to admit, if you’re going to be mentioned in the same sentence with another pair of artists, that’s not bad company to keep.

Recorded and mixed in under a week, these four songs simply hammer you over the head with their creatively rhythmic, darkly melodic turns. This is material that has a sense of itself, and the attention to detail is marvelous and magnetic, especially given the quick nature of the recording process. Upon first listen, it’s as though you’ve popped the can open for the first time with all the freshness intact. These are the types of songs that can get over-mixed and analyzed and the band and producer’s recognition of the raw power contained here is the real gem.

This EP comes with the highest recommendation as it combines the best elements of early 90’s raucous rock with a mesmerizing shoe-gaze quality that culminates on the song “Pinhole”. It’s dark and moody, passionate and confident. If you choose one disc to introduce yourself to The Stepford Five, choose this EP. Excellent.

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