Award The Stepkids the virtue of honesty, or at least the allure of no nonsense: they have zero gimmick (unless you count their conspicuously white wardrobe). If this band wants your attention, they’re determined to get it solely with their groove and the purity of their performance. Go ahead, watch their recently released live session of “Shadows on Behalf.” They can all sing, and they’re all songwriters. They can all play. If that bass line isn’t your kind of hook, if that ascending chime isn’t what wrangles you in, then you’re not these guys’ kind of fish — and they’re probably fine with that.
The Stepkids, whose self-titled debut is due September 27 from Stones Throw, are currently on tour with London act The Horrors, and the two bands together make for a compelling show. Although the Kids’ gig is markedly different from those Brits’ breed of brooding, glorious, shoegaze psychedelia, their performance is a trip in its own right. It harkens back to an earlier pedigree of the psychedelic line, with precise harmonies, falsetto yawns, and ooo’s in the chorus. The lyrics are of lesser importance, but if you listen closely, you’ll hear such giveaway diction as “essence,” “boogaloo,” “infinity,” and “shaba daba bop ba ba.”