You know you’re starting to become an old codger when you’ve lived through three emo waves, albeit very different in substance. There was the 1985 DC scene, where Ian Mackaye of Minor Threat and Guy Piccioto ventured beyond the current hardcore punk movements to explore a more melodious and cathartic sound in Embrace and Rites Of Spring, respectively. Then there was, of course, the emo wave of the early 2000’s, which emerged from a hairy mole on the tank-ass of ‘metalcore’. It almost felt like this ’emo’ movement was a palatable solution to the outright verbal aggression of hardcore at the time; it was the mixing of uber-clean pop vocals, with the occasional hardcore squeal that made bands like The Used and My Chemical Romance so appealing to distraught and unhappy teenagers. The second revival of emo appeared almost as homage to the small emo scene of the mid-90’s, which included bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, The Promise Ring, Braid and American Football. The Word Is A Beautiful Place And I Am Not Afraid To Die, Empire! Empire! I Was A Lonely Estate, Into It Over It and A Great Big Pile Of Leaves are key examples here. To be honest, it has never really been my thing. I just couldn’t find that gripping moment amidst the pathos, catharsis and, at least in the 2000’s, the eyeliner.
This is why I find myself in a difficult situation. Syracuse’s Stepfriends have kind of won me over with their spellbinding mix of emo, indie and folk. ‘Quiet Place’, currently streaming via bandcamp, is truly infectious; its compelling vocal harmonies are almost impossible to wash off. Listeners will no doubt find echoes of Saves The Day and The Get Up Kids, and many subtle math rock and jazz sensibilities are also likely to be picked out.
We’re happy to bring you two wonderful tracks from Stepfriends’ upcoming album All We’ve Got: ‘Quiet Place’ and ‘Renovation’. It is a truly catchy album and one that we needed to share with you pronto. Get them in yer ear ‘oles and prepare for this bound-to-be-amazing debut.
All We Got will be available digitally from the 21st of October. Pre-orders for vinyl (due early December) are available here.