A two song EP by Australian band Heirlooms, Stepping Stones is a well-produced, energetic, and catchy example of modern pop/punk.
In fact, it’s so authentically made that my girlfriend, who grew up on bands like Paramore, Flyleaf, and VersaEmerge, turned her head while I was listening and said “I would’ve LOVED this when I was a kid.”
Well, I love this now.
I didn’t grow up on postpunk or metalcore, and spent my teenage years more fully immersed in Queen than Killswitch Engage, but I listened to my fair share of Avenged Sevenfold, and Billy Talent was my first experience with a screaming vocalist.
Heirlooms is less heavy than many of the bands I just described, but all the guitar virtuosity, overdrive riffs, melodic vocals, and badass drums are there. These two songs do a great job of showing the band’s diversity; opening track “Top Heavy” is catchy, energetic, and full of guitars, while “Alive” is much slower, focusing instead on parallel tenths between the bass and a clean electric guitar, and emphasizes melody more than vim.
The music video for “Top Heavy” depicts the band playing in an empty room, and it’s eerily similar to some early 2000's music videos of similar genres. Baggy t shirts and open plaid shirts seem to be Heirloom’s thing, as well as the typical modern haircut like that Rugrats twin – short on the sides, long on top. The band’s attention to fashion, even if it’s accidental, plants them firmly in a position which would allow quite a lot of teen idolization. They look good, play well, and are just edgy enough to empathize with adolescent rebelliousness.
Tristan, the band’s singer, has a weedy tenor voice that actually fits perfectly with the angsty vibe the band gives out.
The songs are extremely well produced, and sound incredible on many different speakers. Producer Dylan Nash can be thanked for that.
I’d be very interested to hear more from this Australian representation of an early 2000s American genre – they do it with passion and talent and these two songs were nowhere near enough to satisfy the nostalgic hunger this EP gave me.