After a handful of singles and signing to SharpTone Records, Brisbane’s Stepson offer their debut full-length album, ‘Help Me, Help You’. Jumping through various styles with their blend of hardcore, metalcore, and pop-punk, Stepson aim beyond one set genre to create a restless record.
That being said, the opening one-two punch of ‘Learning To Let Go’ and ‘Run’ seem to play it safe. Whilst both songs show off the dynamic range of Brock Alan Conry‘s vocals, ultimately they sit firmly in the metalcore camp. Granted, the former does flirt with elements of shoegaze on its verses, and the latter refuses to let up on the momentum, but ultimately both tracks are overshadowed by later cuts, like ‘Who Are We?’ and ‘The Entire History Of You’.
Hitting their stride with ‘Who Are We?’, Stepson dive into a pop-punk driven track with ease, playing with space on its verses and delivering a spiky set of guitars in the chorus. A welcome contrast from what’s come before, ‘Who Are We?’ hints that the group could perhaps be more adept at pop-punk than metalcore. Swiftly changing that opinion is ‘The Entire History Of You’, which delivers crushing riffs and a hardcore stomp with reckless abandon.
Building on the foundation of the opening tracks, ‘The Entire History Of You’ sees Stepson fly through churning guitars, thunderous breakdowns, and a growling bridge whilst still injecting moments of melody and space. Serving as a respite from its predecessor, ‘I Wish’ immerses the group into dreampop melodies and shades of electronica to create a track that unfolds another side to the group.
Throughout the second half of their debut, Stepson move through various soundscapes to create a dynamic set of tracks. Whether it’s the spinning pop-punk of ‘Dilemma’, or the hurtling hardcore of ‘The Shift, The Blur’, the final moments of ‘Help Me, Help You’ sees a more relaxed and ultimately stronger version of Stepson.
Closing with the swimming melodies and bright chorus of ‘Say Something’ works as a perfect bookend to the varied ‘Help Me, Help You’, highlighting the hook driven songwriting that underlines the majority of the record. A strong debut, Stepson prove that they have the ability to move up the ranks of either hardcore or pop-punk, depending on which route they choose to take.