–review by Aaron Marc of Indie Band Guru
Before listening to The Demons and The Devotees by The Steppouts, I decided to check their website for some background information to see where their heads are at. The only information they supply is “THE STEPPOUTS is rock and roll music. Barret and John are from Dallas, Texas.” The album was recorded by Grammy Award-winner Stuart Sikes, who has also worked with Cat Power, The White Stripes and Modest Mouse. Now right off the bat, I’m ready for something stripped-down and raw, seeing that there’s only a singer-guitarist and a drummer.
You can easily hear their influences from Jack Black and Bob Dylan, but I find it hard to feel them. Rather than a display of raw emotion, one can’t help but think they’re those 2 weird high school kids banging away in the garage next door. I sat down and gave my full attention to the entire album, waiting for something to move me. My favorite track on the album is “Dispensationalist Jam”, an experimental track where he’s actually not singing and there’s no apparent structure. The few times that songs on the album stand out is only when they don’t overdub other tracks on top of their sound. I feel it’s almost cheating to add something to your album that you can’t recreate live when you’re going for a stripped-down sound.
The fact that they have a Grammy award winning producer for the album doesn’t phase me. It’s proof that even though you might have an accomplished producer for your album, there’s only so much they can tweak the sound quality as opposed to musical quality. If you don’t have an interesting product to begin with, it’s not going to magically transform after investing money in a producer unless they re-write your song structure. At that point it’s no longer your music, it has become someone else’s interpretation.
To check out The Steppouts for yourself go to: