Review: Steffaloo – Would You Stay [Album]

By ajcolores

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Sporting the cracked audio of a bedroom recording and an astonishing talent for heartfelt indie-folk, Stefaloo, otherwise known as Stephanie Thompson of Los Angeles, makes her modest but exceptional debut to public ears.

Would You Stay may be treading similar ground to many before it (particularly in the past few years), but the fact remains that this album smacks you in the gut with an emotional intensity akin to early Bright Eyes or Johnny Cash in his final years.

Musically, Stefaloo bares similarities to acts like sister-folk band CocoRosie as well as Antony Hegarty, but to compare them does neither any favours. With Would You Stay, Stefaloo brings her own uniquely charming take on life and love. 'Lonely Night' is a simple mix of dubbed vocals and acoustic guitar, but it's sincerity can catch you off guard and force you to sit and listen.

'So I'll Go' has a hint of sea shanty about it, but it's soulful mourning tone gives it a darker, more adult tone about it. Much like the entire album, 'So I'll Go' encapsulates a mature perspective on the many pitfalls and lessons of youth.

The stripped down feel of the album works well, chords rasping and voices cracking gives it a greater emotional weight because it feels like a real person rather than a celebrity is singing these songs, much like live performances are so appealing because you get to see the unvarnished reality of a track. Some might describe it as too willowy, or too involved in its own sound, but tracks like 'You' and 'Flight Flail' are pleasantly open without the self-pity that made the 'emo scene' of the previous decade such a pain in the arse.

There are some tracks where the emotion behind them becomes slightly drawn out, but these are equally balanced by short instrumentals that spread the album over a wider palate. But behind the indie idiosyncrasies and the twee-folk exterior, Would You Stay is a masterwork of heart-rending realism and poignant optimism.

Would You Stay is out now on Mush Records

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