A lot of independently-produced debut albums sound like independently-produced debut albums: trite lyrics, off-key vocals, and poor musicianship because they're often recorded too early in a band's development. Some bands' debuts, however, sound as if they've been together for years. Stephie Coplan & The Pedestrians are ready for their closeup: their self-titled EP is fun, catchy, witty, intelligent, and begging for you to take it home.
The album leads off with "Jerk!," which oozes with attitude and demands to be played loudly and screamed along to by everyone who's ever been wronged by a lover yet can't seem to break the ties with him or her. While "Jerk!" might remind you of Garbage, the rest of the album is totally different and sounds like Ben Folds due to Coplan's amazing piano skills and humorous lyrics. "Caroline" is Coplan at her Foldsiest and is a great character study. The funniest song on the album is "Take Me Back To The Suburbs," with its unbelievably catchy "get me to the burbs ASAP" refrain and pop culture references to Anthropologie, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, The Simpsons, Will Smith, Starbucks, Twitter, Urban Outfitters, Weeds, and The Wire. "Suburbs" was my favorite song on the disc until I spent this past weekend listening to and appreciating "We Don't Need Much," the album's closer, on a nonstop loop. "We Don't Need Much" is a sweet and mature song about love being more important than material items, and sounds like classic Liz Phair if Liz Phair had turned in her six-string for eighty-eight keys.
Stephie Coplan & The Pedestrians is a great album. My only fear is that the critics' inevitable comparisons of Coplan to Ben Folds might overshadow the greatness of this EP. But I don't think that will happen because Coplan owns these comparisons; she wears them like a badge of honor. The question is: does the world need a younger, hipper, funnier, and prettier Ben Folds?
Yes. Yes it does.
And so do you.
Stephie Coplan & The Pedestrians will be released on January 21, 2012. You can preorder it on their Bandcamp page for five bucks and will be able to download "Jerk" on the spot.