Wildlife Pop

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Fred Thomas
One of the silent casualties of the internet age is the regional hit. The liner notes of many reissues of '60s and early-'70s soul or funk obscurities tell of how artists could have a regional hit with one of their singles, gaining radio play in their hometown and maybe even far enough outside of town to fill up the bars or concert halls they played within a 100 mile radius. Regional musical movements are still going strong, be it New Orleans sissy bounce, Baltimore club, West Coast power violence, etc., but viral videos and always accessible search engines mean you no longer have to live in a certain region to be privy to some of the finer points of its cultural currents. ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Fred Thomas
One of the silent casualties of the internet age is the regional hit. The liner notes of many reissues of '60s and early-'70s soul or funk obscurities tell of how artists could have a regional hit with one of their singles, gaining radio play in their hometown and maybe even far enough outside of town to fill up the bars or concert halls they played within a 100 mile radius. Regional musical movements are still going strong, be it New Orleans sissy bounce, Baltimore club, West Coast power violence, etc., but viral videos and always accessible search engines mean you no longer have to live in a certain region to be privy to some of the finer points of its cultural currents. Western Michigan electro-poppers Stepdad had something more similar to a regional hit than an internet sensation with their super-catchy 2010 single "My Leather, My Fur, My Nails." While its garishly goofy video didn't propel the song into overnight blogosphere success, it did offer a satisfactory vehicle for the tune's surprisingly strong hooks to immediately reach an audience closer to home, and eventually open the doors to further-reaching horizons. The song's success came incrementally with time; a year after its release, they were opening tours for better-known acts based on the strength of their single. Videos began popping up of the band playing the song at regional colleges with entire crowds singing along, as did those of Michigan elementary schoolers doing an American Sign Language routine to the song's lyrics. This updated grassroots approach all leads to Wildlife Pop, Stepdad's full-length debut. Sonically, not much has changed from their early home-recorded tracks. The slightly glossier production and mixing by veteran sound sculptor Chris Zane is harder to hear on Stepdad's booming big-beat electronics than on his productions for more traditional rock bands like Le Savy Fav. Ending up with a swirling digital party pop sound not too far off from Passion Pit or MGMT, Wildlife Pop is 12 nuggets of '80s-influenced ear candy, none straying too far from the successful blueprint of "My Leather...." The sample cut-ups of "To Ribbons" or "Must Land Running" give way to layers of arpeggiated keyboard lines and slickly delivered vocal melodies. The swaying tempo of "Jungles" and its huge chorus give the song a vaguely anthemic feel, as does the dramatic tropical landscape of "Starfriends on Earth." At the center of the whole album is a reworked version of "My Leather...," offering a frame of reference for the slightly confessional psychedelic pop of the rest of the album. While none of the other songs quite achieve the same catchy heights and immediacy of this track, they're not far behind. While the time of the regional superstar may be fading, Stepdad's in-studio attention to detail and relentless work ethic everywhere else give an updated example of songs good enough for the world, but made more interesting by the journey they made trying to get heard.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/12/2012
  • Label: Black Bell Records
  • UPC: 609788945475
  • Catalog Number: 5475
  • Sales rank: 142,106

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Stepdad Primary Artist
Chris Zane Drums
Ben Beutel-Gunn Vocals
Alex Fives Bass, Vocals, Hand Clapping
Dan Erban Guitar, Vocals
Kristy Guiette Vocals
Devin Tuel Vocals
Seydurah Avecmoi Vocals
Tyler Rubenfeld Vocals
Technical Credits
Greg Calbi Mastering
Chris Zane Producer
Elizabeth Farrell Layout
Ryan McCarthy Composer
Ultramark Composer
Jason Naumann Artwork, Illustrations
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