“The sound is classic Americana. Springsteen-tinged drives to the Jersey Shore, making out in a barn of a farm in the Midwest, crossing the desert and arriving at the California coast.”
When I listened to “Chalybes,” the lead track of Brooklyn-based roots band Joe McCarthy & the Faders, I felt all of those things and more: wistfulness, nostalgia. I felt my tired, buzzing, overly-caffeinated brain slow down for the next thirty minutes or so, something that only a select few bands (including Van Morrison and George Harrison) can manage to do. I sat back and let myself rise and fall with the record, from the haunting intro of “Here She Comes” to the sparse, piano-driven “Dreamin” and the raw, drunken slur of “Start It All Over Again.”
“If something great has to end,
Start it all over again.”
That’s exactly what I wanted to do to this record when it finished. So I did. Rather than producing another copy-paste of an old-timey roots bend, featuring twelve men in suspenders and every folk instrument imaginable (though there are a few), or even a catchy clap-and-sing-along, Step On drives onward, a dynamic, raw offering that captivates from the first note. Blending elements of rock, psychedelia (just listen for those Beatles-tinged chord progressions), and the edge of a New Yorker living and loving to the inexhaustible beat of the city’s heart, Joe McCarthy & the Faders’ Step On is an intimate, rootsy journey that’s at the top of our “Must Listen” list.
Stream Step On here now: