After the election most of us decided to start heading north. Some stopped in Burlington, others kept going all the way into Canada. We flashed our passports at the border guards and told them we were on a Tim Horton’s expedition. By the time we stopped in St. Armand for gas, one of the guys in the backseat asked if we could listen to a different CD, only to be shouted down by the rest of us.
All we need is the Stutter Steps, Tim. What other music is there?
We made our way back to the highway, over-accelerated onto the onramp and kicked up flurries of leaves behind us as we drove, the sun now starting to set on our right. As we continued north, and then west, twisting ourselves around the lake, Tim apologized in a hollow, awed whisper.
Stutter Steps released their debut album on Wild Kindness records at the end of 2015. Group mastermind Ben Harrison, a curator at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and collaborator with Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500/Luna/etc.), crafted one of the bittersweetest indiepop debuts in years. Critics who took the time to listen were stunned. With its jangling guitars and plaintive organ, its literate heartfelt lyrics and the skip in its step, Stutter Steps sounds like the missing link between early Flying Nun and the Go-Betweens (geographically, this would put then in the middle of the Tasman Sea and I hope they’ve got a boat).
They return now with a new six-song EP, Floored, on Blue Arrow Records, home of Jonathan Richman among others, that expands on the promise of the debut. Harrison has the rare ability to combine emotions in a song, so ‘Encino,’ with its wistful chords and lyrics of regret, becomes greater than the sum of its parts. The organ on ‘Weak Restraint’ makes you dance (Stutter Steps has never sounded more like The Clean than they do here) while the words make you weep. It would take a heart of orange granite not to be moved.
Stutter Steps make music for grown-ups, the grown-ups who haven’t forgotten what it feels like to be a kid.