Back in the 70s, self-styled feminist rock bands delivered their valid messages with punk powered ire… X-Ray Specs, Crass, The Slits (as well as, some would say, the progenitor – Patti Smith) spring to mind. There was another band that had a big live following (of both sexes) but somehow never got to release an album. After reforming in 2010, they’ve put that right at last as The Stepney Sisters self-titled debut finally sees the light of day and, then and now, they are a structured, melodic band with hat tilted firmly toward proper R’n’B rather than punk.
Lead single ‘Sisters’ is more Aretha than rock, but actually has tasty guitar and sax in the middle section and carries a similar message to Franklin’s hit. ‘Lonely Man’ is laid back R’n’B with great instrumentation lifting the storyline.
Then there is the lively sax led ‘Never Get To Heaven’ or the nearly riffed ‘Hey Baby’ that are guaranteed to get the toes tapping. ‘Family Song’ is the best for me as it’s, like most of the album, of its time but with enough of an edge to make it enjoyable…as well as the still (unfortunately) relevant message. ‘Love Letter’ and closer, ‘Dying Ain’t No Life’ also bring back the sounds of the 60s rock up to date in a pleasant way.
A serendipitous touch is the fact that Anya Pearson (daughter of Stepney guitarist Tony Ardill) also treads the girl power boards in the band Dream Nails.
This is not rock or metal but still deserves a listen for its relevance and atmospheric songs that could have graced the charts in the 60s or 70s with an infectious style and performance and is starred with that in mind.