Stepdad is a fresh breeze blowing through the self-important indie scene, clearing away the thick irony and Parliament Light smoke for something a little more enticing... fun.
Stepdad is three guys from Grand Rapids, Michigan who have only been writing songs since 2009, but listening to their debut, Ordinaire EP, you would never guess their relative lack of experience. Imagine what would happen if the Postal Service hung out with Justin Hawkins of the Darkness, listened to a lot of Passion Pit, and started recording. This is the kind of finely crafted, deliciously indulgent synthpop you get from Stepdad.
"Jungles" has little in common with the rest of the EP yet it feels like the perfect introduction -- a broodingly expansive song that sounds like a twist on '80s Phil Collins. What follows is a series of excellent bounce-along tracks that few releases this year can touch. "Wolf Slaying As a Hobby" belongs on summer mixtapes and "Cutie Boots" is touchingly direct, if a little overwrought... it would fit in the catalog of fellow tinkly synthpoppers Freelance Whales. "My Leather, My Fur, My Nails" won't leave your head for days and "Kings and Centipedes" sounds like an NES soundtrack on acid, serving as the perfect ending to an imminently enjoyable EP.
The forthcoming Deluxe Edition of Ordinaire EP has two bonus tracks, but neither are standouts and together they balloon the album's length from just over 30 minutes to a full 40 minutes, making Stepdad's debut EP actually longer than plenty of full length albums released this year (Architecture In Helsinki, I'm looking at you).
They may be newbies, but Ordinaire EP proves that these guys have the chops to consistently create the kind of pop songs that Vampire Weekend might take on tour, and Mitsubishi might pay to put in a commercial. As an initial offering from an up and coming electronic act, it doesn't get much better.