Thursday, June 17, 2010
The Steppes - Drop Of The Creature - 1987
Though they apparently have a substantial cult following in Europe, the Steppes were inexplicably obscure in the States. A shame, since this far-flung quartet (singer/songwriters John and David Fallon resided in Ireland; the American rhythm section lived in Oregon and San Francisco) was easily one of the best and most distinctive combos of the neo-psychedelic crop, combining a subtly baroque musical sensibility with an ability to pull off ambitiously original arrangements and production ideas. The Steppes capture the essence of vintage psychedelia without sounding pretentious or unduly derivative.
The band's albums have steadily grown more accomplished and impressive, from the friendly acoustic stylings of the limited-edition eight-song debut to the multi-textured mini- epics of their more recent efforts. Stewdio, Enquire Within and Harps & Hammers are all mesmerizing, extraordinarily realized works whose inventive musical settings belie their low-budget origins. Tourists From Timenotyet combines tracks from Drop of the Creature and Stewdio.-Scott Schinder