The five musicians who make up Steff Koeppen and the Articles have come a long way with regard to both songcraft and musicianship. First of all, the songs are constructed better. Each musician has found their place within the overarching sound. While the first album has moments of crowding from all the instrumentalists, Stories You Can’t Tell avoids this issue entirely thereby granting a greater overall fluidity to the band’s sound.
Despite tremendous improvement, Steff Koeppen and the Articles fall ever so slightly short of making a truly stellar album with Stories You Can’t Tell. Perhaps, with another band, I would be less reticent to proclaim the new release a triumph. After all, it is a great album complete with jazzy, inspired pop melodies and feisty, piano-driven fun.
It is the lyrics that leave the listener wanting. Steff Koeppen by all counts appears to be an accomplished and well-adjusted young woman. No unaddressed neurosis, no youthful recklessness, at least, none that comes out in her songs. Rather in the music we find a narrator making lists to avoid be overwhelmed by tasks, relaying to us the ups and down of relationship tussles, and so on. The listener finds more narration than insight in the lyrics.
Now, I’m not advising recklessness. A “live fast” motto in youth usually just results in a higher debt-to-credit ratio and fewer job prospects. Nothing to romanticize. There is a certain recklessness, however, in laying your emotions bare before an audience and here is where I find Steff Koeppen and the Articles too reserved.
At the end of the day, Stories You Can’t Tell still stands as a worthwhile album and the five-piece always puts on an energetic show. The full album will be available March 8. Until then, you can enjoy some early tracks online.
Set for release on March 8, Stories You Can’t Tell will thrill fans of Steff Koeppen and the Articles with its upbeat piano pop. The group’s second release shows tremendous growth and development from where we found the band in 2010 with their self-titled debut album.