The Stepford Five – 6 EP

I’m going to guess that the Stepford Five have been around the block a few times, based almost entirely on the tightness and production of this short EP. No doubt they have fans, good press, well-attended shows, and an otherwise pleasant and promising future.
The numerically named EP 6 – and I can only assume the band as well – seems to take a lot of cues from more straight-up rock bands than the indie-rock bands musically in the same ballpark. There are bands like Catherine Wheel, who just poured straight-up vocal intensity into beautifully atmospheric and challenging soundscapes routed in very traditional rock and roll arena rock fashion. And then there are the bands who sound similar but are obviously playing it safe, taking those strong foundations and learning them well, but not taking the chances needed musically to really keep the listener on their toes.
Don’t get me wrong, The Stepford Five are a good-sounding band; the strongest elements being the very Sensefield-ish flowing vocals and guitars which are all over the place but never noodling. But it’s the lack of unexpected dynamics that don’t help these tracks stand out from each other and the band stand out from others. I just sort of was anticipating everything. I say to just push everything to every limit, add some dissonance, don’t play so much in lock with each other, a little less repetition, feet up on the monitors, put the balls to wall, and let’s hear all their best elements push through.
“Are You Dreaming” is the best track on the CD, really showcasing the guitar playing abilities and great vocal abilities of The Stepford Five. The second and third songs are unfortunately a bit formulaic and bland. “Six” probably is one of their killer live songs, but it seems to lose its intensity here. Regardless, it’s a great song.
Basically, If you liked Catherine Wheel or Sensefield, these guys have a good chance of being on their level in the next couple years, so I’d say go check these guys out live and judge them by that instead of this CD, and get on their bandwagon early.