Stutter Steps - Floored - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Stutter Steps - Floored

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:9 Release Date:2017-06-09

Stutter Steps is a Pittsburgh-based outfit masterminded by Andy Warhol Museum curator Ben Harrison. Their recently released second effort, this one on the larger Blue Arrow label, is the six cut EP aptly titled Floored.

Jangly guitars, winsome keys, and a steady backbeat propel these gorgeous indie pop numbers along, while Harrison’s subdued voice and smart, poetic, and oft-poignant lyrics provide the perfect dose of depth, intelligence, and sincerity.

The opening title cut harkens back to 90’s bittersweet alt pop with a dreamy vocal duet with guest Cindy Yogmas (whose harmonic touches throughout are pure joy) that is simply brilliant; one of those songs you can put on repeat for the entire drive home from work, like I did today. And yesterday. Besides how perfect the song is, let’s not forget that the chorus is about mole men, and the lyrics name-drop Mister Rogers and the movie Blue Velvet.

Harrison sings about Encino, California in the eponymous closing number and, being that I just returned from this very city, his poetic descriptors are spot-on. It’s a haunting and beautiful song. The song also calls out the elephant in the room, that being the similarities to Mr. Warhol’s house band. Harrison references not only the Velvet Underground, but also The Beach Boys. While I get the obvious coincidence, Stutter Steps doesn’t so much mimic VU as they do parallel the stripped down chording, the haunting vocal interplay between a man and a woman, and the keen lyrical content. Kind of like the way REM, another band I’m frequently reminded of as I listen to Floored, aped the essentials of their inspiration while giving it their own personal twist. Moreover, Stutter Steps vibe pulses with lush warmth and fragile beauty, opposed to the more cloistered and bleak sensibilities that characterize VU.

There are times when an EP seems like a tease, but there are also times when a half dozen songs can seem like a complete piece of work. While I selfishly wish there was more to Floored, I also love this EP as the beautiful, stand-alone work of art it is.




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