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Anthony Carew

Free Music Monday: Steffaloo "Would You Stay"

By October 8, 2012

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Lo-fi has, in its recent explosion, become to be a kind of style: usually meaning fuzzed-out, overdriven garage-rock or wobbly, tape-sheeny, Ariel Pink-ish pop. But choosing to record in a raw, direct fashion can still be a choice informed by song and sentiment, not just style.

Steffaloo's "Would You Stay," doesn't feature the cruddy sound that speaks of a stylistic choice; instead it's a song aesthetically unadorned; a quiet ballad that refuses to polish up the performance. Mostly, I'm thinking of those really audible squeaks that come each time Steph Thompson slides her fingers on guitar strings, and how they're just as loud —sometimes even louder— than the moments of 'proper' playing.

It's not a lo-fi song in that there's a smooth sonic spell that arises, as a clunky drum-machine rises up and Thompson's vocals are multi-tracked into a one-woman chorus. But there's unvarnished truth to the central singing-and-playing take; which rests at the heart of this softly-stepping, even-more-softly-strumming acoustic ode to the transience of summer and the transience of romance.

"Would You Stay" reminds me of those old Quiet Is the New Loud acolytes, Kings of Convenience; a high compliment for those into gentle guitar playing and soft, sincere harmonies. It's a taste of the second Steffalo LP, also called Would You Stay, which is out October 23 on Mush.

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