Bill Gilonis - voice, guitar, bass, keyboards, clarinet, stylophone
Lukas Simonis - voice, guitar, wooden thing
Jeroen Visser - voice, bass, organ, synth, clarinet, baritone sax
David Kerman - drums, percussion
you know you're in for something quite experimental, a bit odd even. Maybe you don't really know what to expect but don't let that hold you down. I don't think these people themselves knew what they were getting into when they founded Stepmother.
Stepmother places itself in the experimental rock world, alongside people like Frank Zappa, Evil Superstars and The Residents. Everything about this band says 'experiment'. They effortlessly combine progressive rock, indie, psychedelica and freejazz with soundscapes, samples and bizarre vocals. At moments there's even some surf-rock and funk elements present but all of them are drenched in this weird haze where everything is permitted and possible.
There's fourteen tracks on this album, each with its own character. I don't think any one of them has less than two shifts in tempo. Some even shift continuously, leaving the listener confused and amazed. To some people this music might sound plain silly. After all, it's true that it takes a while to trulyy get into the music. But once you're used to the experimental foundations of Stepmother, this album becomes very interesting and enjoyable. By the time 'TBTF' starts I'm quite used to it and I'm having a great time with this stuff.
'Laisse tomber les filles' is a short, fun song with a pretty dark edge. This is just one example of the ongoing contradictions on this album. What else to expect from a band that sings, or talks, about mass murderer Curtis Lemay, Serge Gainsbourg, sex ads, neo-liberal communism, Nigerian online scams, neo-Surrealist blabbering and Dickensian psycho fluff while making pretty cheerful music? It's raunchy, cheerful, vulgar, it's familiar, it's otherworldly and joyous at the same time. It's like a soundtrack for a Fluxus art exhibition.
And then there's even more. 'Great Trading Days' breathes a Western movie atmosphere and 'Intimacy & Polarity' shamelessly borrows weird electronics from Black Dice and transfer it into a sing-along version of a noise song. If you still follow where I'm going with this, you should check out this album. If you're not, you should check out this album as well. How else would you know what beauties the lay hidden in the vast world of music?