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Stutter Steps is a Pittsburgh based jangle pop group who’ve deeply mined the Kiwi pop sound and added a soupcon of Luna and maybe some Go Betweens along the way. The Luna connection is deliberate, perhaps because bandleader Ben Harrison has collaborated with Dean Wareham on other projects. The opening title track is the best example of this, and owes a considerable debt to Luna, while maintaining their own identity. A memorable melody and good singing and songwriting go a long way toward establishing this. The terrific “Dim” is even better, with beachy surf guitar and warm organ propelling things forward, along with pretty vocal turns that wouldn’t be out of place on a Bats record.
And ooh, “Submarine” is sublime. The echoing production only adds to the charm of this tune. So cool! Have not realized until now how much I dig keyboards when it’s used to great effect like it is here. The band seems to have mainlined the entire Flying Nun catalog on the way to writing these tunes, but not in a derivative way. In fact, they’ve taken the best things from those old classics and brightened and sharpened things for the modern age. The organ driven “Weak Restraint” mashes up Luna and The Clean into a captivating melange. “Encino” is the farewell tune, and leaves things in a happy and beautiful place. Highly recommended!
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