Step On Over    by    The Tender Idols

The greatest new hook filled, harmony rich, guitar crazy britpop bursts forth from ... Atlanta?

    Hooray for the quick three-minute-shot-to-the-gut hopelessly catchy toe-tapping pop rock song! You might say that it's passé, and you might say that it's been done- and you would be right. But there's just something about the workmanship of the well crafted pop/rock song, with hooks that bridge to more hooks, irrepressibly sing-along choruses, and vocal harmonies to delight the ear and stir the soul. Play. Repeat. More please.

    The work of art that has me in such high spirits is The Tender Idols "Step On Over". It is equal parts Beatles, Oasis and Blur- and winds up sounding musically a great deal like Weezer's 1994 "Blue Album". While the Weezer parallel gives you, gentle reader, some idea of the big guitar goodness found in Step On Over, it should be noted that, lyrically, Tender Idol's frontman Ian Webber tends to pen songs with more traditional rock ambiguity than does the straight ahead Rivers Cuomo. After several times through it, I still have no idea what "Gettaway" is about, or if it's about anything at all. All I know is that I'd like to listen to it again right about now, and later tonight my brain will sing it back to my ears (for hours on end) as a thank you. Ahhh the sweet joy that is that song.

    If the music industry were set up in any way that sought out and rewarded quality, as opposed to today's top-down "MegaRecordsCorp pays MegaRadioCorp $500,000.00 to play Britney Spears in heavy rotation" model- Step On Over by the Tender Idols would have placed 3 singles in the in the U.S. Top 40. I'm serious about this. Give a listen to Never Get Closer Than That, Gettaway, and See How She Runs. Those are hit songs, forever entombed in one of the gretest records that your friends have never heard of.

    Step On Over, recorded and largely self-produced in the summer of 1998, was self-released in January 1999 but picked up by their new label E-magine Entertainment and re-released in 2000. The sessions found the band expanding as primary bassist (and recording engineer) David Cobb and primary guitarist Danny Howes went on a creative rampage- each recording multiple bass and guitar parts on the album. As the sound grew, it became apparent that to re-create this much fuzztone goodness on stage- the Tender Idols would eventually have to become a five piece band. Step On Over, is really, then, the sweet moment of conception of the Tender Idols- who, if there is any justice in this world, will go on to greatness. Growing from that orgasmic moment of conception- The Tender Idols have now gone on to record Distressor, which is noisy, bloody and ultimately beautiful enough that the band considers it the moment of ther real birth. God help us all when they grow up to be toddlers, let alone teenagers.

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