Cut the difference between The Modern Lovers and Beach Blanket Bingo, and you’d have something similar to Fine Steps. Former Mayyors drummer Julian Elorduy leads his new and far more chilled-out band with disaffected, detached vocals whose monotonous echo serve as a direct contrast to the beach-inflected melodies of Ganglians Alex Soles and Kyle Hoover. Mashed up, the members of the Fine Steps make music almost completely incomparable to their previous projects, something entirely new, extremely smooth, and strangely encouraging.
Elorduy slowly steps into Boy's Co. with a series of hollowed “la-las” that hit surf guitars and dip between waves of fury, emerging into a swaying, steady beat set to a dashboard Hawaiian dancer. “Lady Hume” repeats the unrepentant summery vibe with recycled advice from the Summer of Love, singing, “When you go to San Francisco, wear a flower in your hair.”
But even though the boys go through the motions of the classic summer soundtrack, Boy's Co. transcends the season’s sometimes soulless, and easily forgettable, songs. Preoccupied with more than the signposts of summer, Elorduy’s lyrics concentrate on real happiness, born out of feeling “free and strong.” In “Lady Hume,” Fine Steps turn that familiar phrase into a catchy proclamation: “I am free.” Linked to the hope and dreams of the past and today’s reality, it rings out, weighted and relevant.
“Patty Smith Hearst” finds Elorduy confidently stating his own happiness, freedom, and strength as the band chants, “Be happy” out to us, without sounding mindless, arms open wide. Following up this taste of freedom with a dose of hope, Fine Steps remind us that time is always on our side, singing “Tomorrow” like a pack of Little Orphan Annies.
Boy's Co. sums up the sunny side of any sweet moment – the freedom, overabundance of love, and grinning confidence. Breezy and beatific, like a ride home from the beach full of passengers whose minds have been slowly emptied by the sun, Fine Steps’ first record is a welcome release destined to live past Labor Day.