Review: The Step Kings


The Step Kings
“3 The Hard Way”
(We Put Out Records)

It’s the vocal howl.  It’s the steamroller of large sound.  It’s the hardcore punk attitude that somehow morphs itself into the thick rock with heavy sense of groove that is The Step Kings.  For a three piece, they manage to carve out their own unique sound of punky heaviness.  A shouted ideal and a guitar pummel, stretched taught and allowed to snap back.  There is a groove that carves itself through most of The Step Kings songs, and the line between punk and rock this band treads is very blurred.  Hard to pin down and compare, without being arrogantly extravagant either.  Guitars set you up, drums smack you around and lyrics bark, shout and howl at you until you move.  It moves, flows and most importantly, it rocks.  Hopefully this is the direction of post-hardcore bands.  Tempo and aggression balanced against a great sense of a song and groove (and a singer who can actually sing AND bark to add the much needed range to lyrical delivery).  ‘Helicopters’ showcases singer Fern’s howl most cleanly (the chorus breaks basically consist of Fern doing ranged whoo-oooh-oooh-aohhhhs and poking lyrics in and out of that).  The same track also shows the clever and razor quick snare snaps drummer Mike Watt can produce.  Actually, with Bob McLynn rounding out the three piece on bass and thickening the vocals, all members of The Step Kings are true players as they produce music in a very unit mentality, meaning they all contribute a lot to each songs personality.  If you need any more convincing, the band is managed by Jay Jay French (ex-Twisted Sister guitarist and now manager/producer) and he says that The Step Kings are ‘the best new music he has heard in years’.  Now THAT’S a testimonial I would base MY CD purchases on.