Steff and the Articles - Why It Was So EP?
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: Dec. 10, 2013
Thanks to Billy Joel and Elton John, there's always going to be a place in contemporary music for piano-pop, and with the burgeoning success of Sara Bareilles, it won't just be young dudes anymore. Exhibit A is Tucson's Steff and the Articles. Their latest effort, the five-song EP Why It Was So? is an absolute scorcher and marks them as a must-watch band for 2014 and beyond. Released last month the EP opens with lead single "Te Extrano," a magnetic slice of radio-rock featuring honeyed vocals, gauzy verses and a string-backed chorus. As a vocalist, Steff Koepen is exceedingly confident, charismatic and well, just darn compelling.
After the ebullient heights of "Te Extrano," Koeppen and Co. bring things down a notch on the romantic "We Won't Know", a trumpet-driven look at self-assessment, heartache and disappointment that is as ripe as anything currently circling the musical blogosphere. Deftly balancing the introspection of "We Won't Know" and the pop sensibilities of "Te Extrano," "Leave You Alone," is a vernal, string-laden orchestration that once again mines the verdant and dizzying constrains of romance gone sour. Koeppen is an immensely gifted frontwoman and "Leave You Alone" is one of her most self-assured efforts on the EP.
Penultimate cut "Good Company" navigates loneliness and the lack of solace and serves more as an exercise in how truly well-crafted Koeppen's arrangements are. The EP closes out with the jazzy, lounge song "What a Terrible Thing To Do," a song wise beyond its years and undeniably without flaw. Why It Was So is a delight of a listen and if anything proves mostly this: In just five songs and seventeen minutes, Koeppen and her band say and do much more than many bands will do in all their careers. That kind of presence and polish is exactly why Arizona is lucky to call this band theirs. In due course, they just might be the world's.