Urgency and paranoia, coupled with a funk sensibility akin to that of Jamie Lidell, lead the listener through Steps. Catchy guitar riffs and smart bass juxtapose Jordache's refrain about "damaged goods." A brighter sound is found in "Morning Sun," featuring bass reminiscent of a Blood Orange composition and an off-kilter rhythm bolstered by synth ornamentation and pop guitar. Only towards the end of the song, when Jordache's vocals become rather indecipherable, does the track lose its poignancy.
Jordache's vocal distortion ramps up in "Fields Laying Fallow," on which sharp guitars and a thick bass line drive the song; the addition of strings provides a welcome stretch of conventional beauty. "Hunger" feeds off of the twists and turns of a slightly out-of-tune guitar line and lockstep drums, while the rambling vocal and counterintuitive bass line mingle with the aforementioned instrumental elements.
The latter half of the album lacks the bombast of the first four songs, yet maintains an interesting and eclectic sound. Funky bass, distorted guitar and clattering percussion define the laidback "Anonymous Woman," a multilayered and chameleon-like song that remains fun despite its melancholy theme. On "Migration," light, propulsive beats provide pointed contrast to the thick, bass-y vocals while snappy rhythm guitar roots the song in pop.
What Steps lacks in consistency, it makes up for with plenty of ideas. (Banko Gotiti Records)