Published Jul 01, 2005Jessie Stein is a trooper. After her three-piece ensemble known as SS Cardiacs dwindled down to just one (her, that is), she reflected on what happened and began rebuilding on her own terms. Enter SS Cardiacs Mk II, with drummer Leon Taheny and provisional bassist Mike Small and the band is as strong as ever, just as their debut drops. Fear the Love may have been recorded with Steins original line-up (that also included stand-in musician/producer/brother José Contreras), but that doesnt take away from its warm fuzzy guitar affection and lo-fi bliss. Steins enunciation of her compassionate lyrics appears languid from time to time, but its this distinct quality that makes her so damned easy to love. Contrerass lo-fi treatment gives the record a real indie feel that invokes the spirit of luminaries like Pavement and Sebadoh. From the get-go, "Age of Navigation unwittingly speaks of a dissolve, like some kind of clairvoyant message regarding the band. "Wolfies, conversely, is drenched in heavenly MBV-like backing vocal effects, while Stein rips away at her guitar. Meanwhile "Comme True evokes the spirit of those classic Erics Trip basement recordings. Fear the Love is a tremendous debut that gets the heart thumping and makes you feel like youve fallen in love for the very first time.
Can you tell me how you came to be the only original member still in the band? Stein: I was dictatorial and Andy and Dana loved each other, and I was awkward and young about it. It was kind of a solo project in disguise and that bothered me a bit. When those guys left I was upset about it, because they were my best friends, but it made sense. I was getting too crazy, there was no peace, and it wasn't a very graceful time.
Since the album was recorded with former members, would you say the new band has changed sonically? Yeah. We've gone all ramshackle. It's a lot louder. There's a little less reservation, and a little more glory. Basically we turned from a quirky pop band into a twisty kinda noisy rock band. It's still melodic but it's less skinny and confused. It's more focused lyrically too.
I heard you're already looking to record a follow-up and get it out quickly. Yeah, at the end of June we'll be in this new studio called Mstrkrft. It's just starting up. I want it out as soon as possible. I kinda like old rocknroll notions of putting stuff out constantly and as consistently as possible. I guess I have romanticised notions about being prolific from reading so many rockographies. (Blocks)