Straight out of the punk capital of the world, Boise, Idaho, Stepbrothers have brought us their new album, Why the Fuck Would Anything Nice Ever Happen? So, what do we, and by that I mean I, think of it?
If this had come out 10 years ago, I’d have called it skate punk and expected a few of the tracks to crop up on the newest Tony Hawk game on the Playstation 2. I’d also say teenagers the world over will be listening to this like it’s suddenly cooler than an exposed pair of Eskimo balls in January. It isn’t ten years ago, however, so I’m not entirely sure where it falls on the spectrum. Is it post-hardcore punk or some weird take on thrash? – I seriously don’t know. I can name a few bands they sound like, like Sum 41, Blink 182, Stalag 13, Manchester United, nil – alright, that last one isn’t a band, but you get the picture. Let’s just assume the genre is something like skate punk and leave it at that, because that’s the closest I’m going to get.
The verdict, now we’ve gotten that background out of the way… it’s something that might have seemed rebellious, or even relevant between the 80s and early 2000s, but as far as modern music goes, I don’t see the place for it. Don’t get me wrong, Stepbrothers sound good, right on the mark for the kind of music they’re making, but I just don’t get why they’re making it. Okay, that’s a lie, I get it completely. Being a huge fan of 80s hair metal and glam rock, I totally get making the music you love and telling everyone else to fuck off, because it’s what you like and you like what you do. Gigantic props to Stepbrothers on that one, conviction and cojones are two things you don’t get much of nowadays.
This is, of course, just my opinion, but it just feels like something my younger brother would have listened to that year he started sneaking out through his window at night to drink watery beer with his mates in a park and I’m finding it hard to take this release seriously on the back of it. In the same way it breaks my heart to listen to Motley Crue, knowing nobody in their right mind would ever listen to this and like it these days, I have to just call Stepbrothers out on what I see as the exact same thing. It’s a bit of a nothing genre and while it has its loyal fans, it’s difficult to see anyone other than the nichest of niches actually listening to it.
Musically, it’s a largely typical post-punk vocal over repetitive guitars and the occasional emphasising harmonies, when you boil it down to its simplest form. In its not simplest form, there’s a lot of humour, a fair amount of cleverness, and some tidy playing, but it still doesn’t speak to me as something eminently stand-out.
Why the Fuck Would Anything Nice Ever Happen? isn’t without its merits. It doesn’t try to be anything its not just to get anyone else’s approval and I have untold amounts of respect for anyone who approaches their music like that. Someone who sticks to their guns when everyone else is out compromising should go down as a hero. Unfortunately, for me, there’s just not really anything else to take out of this offering, and it won’t be going down in the annals as something groundbreaking or excessively memorable in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Lame.
You can find the album on Bandcamp, and see what you make of it yourself. For all I know it could be a post-hardcore masterpiece, but only one of those few people who actually likes this genre is able to say that for sure. If you do happen to be one of them, Stepbrothers are on Facebook, so send them a message and tell them I feel for them and I’m sorry.