Stepmothers – Leave Your Light On – OCC004

Leave Your Light On

Length: EP
Release: Digital / 7″
Release Date: March 12, 2013
Tracklisting: Roll Yourself Back Home / Leave Your Light On / Hard To Breathe / No Friends

Leave Your Light On, Stepmothers’ sophomore album, was released in October of this year, just four months after their self-titled debut. These four sincere but hard-nosed tracks mark a clear departure from the band’s preliminary sound – a divergence in-part owed to the increased presence of guitarist Steve Lewis in the new recordings.

This is a no-nonsense batch of songs, tight in their arrangement and to-the-point from start to finish. While Stepmothers’ debut featured mostly songs written by front man Troy Snaterse and then adapted to a full-band sound after the fact, Leave Your Light On offers a more integrated product. The raw quality of the instrumentation lends them the blue-collar feel that the lyrics are gunning for, keeping with a tradition championed by The Replacements in the eighties (Snaterse has even adopted the Paul Westerberg rasp).

Each track follows a predictable but satisfying progression, and with candour in the lyrics and a simplicity to the songs themselves, each hits you right on the chin. Galvanized by a deep and driving percussion section compliments of drummer Matt Punyi and bassist Nic Mac, the closing song “No Friends” works most to this effect.

Though punk sensibilities are evident throughout, this release isn’t afraid to make use of a few hooks or a memorable chorus. It conveys a level of sophistication that many acts within the same genre simply do not. See the title-track, “Leave Your Light On,” which stays with the listener long after the record’s stopped.

The band’s short but prolific existence shows an abundance of promise, and one could reasonably expect another release early into 2013. They’ve recently joined up with Open Circles, an Edmonton-based art collective that features a handful of other acts who call the area home. It’s a partnership that should yield good things for everyone involved.

Music fans in the area continue to bear witness to a group of bands that are proud to be from Edmonton. But with an unsettling accuracy in their lyrics and the musical grit to back it up, Stepmothers is doing justice to the place itself.