From the opening moments of High Step Society’s eponymous debut LP, the listener is dropped down a dust-cloaked chute and spit into a netherworld of speakeasy freedom. The astoundingly visual 10-track album depicts a fever dream of futurist phantasmagoria — robotics at war with compressed air and brass.
You can almost smell the oil and grease, feel the spark plugs bursting with life as the production line churns toward high gear. A moment of birth, or electronic rebirth, then the pulse sweeps in and you bump through coiling cigarette smoke toward the tinny psycho wails of growl and plunger squealing beyond.
As electro-swing goes, this is far from run-of-the-mill. Whereas typical acts within this genre consist of a single sample-wizard and hundreds of hours on Ableton Live, High Step Society brings a full band into that played-out scene and opens it up to new possibilities.
Rebecca Conner’s sultry voice drifts over the thump in welcoming swaths, keeping what would otherwise be an instrumental record from growing tiresome. Of course, the instrumentals play their part. Produced by Nara Reicher and Ethan Rainwater — samples and bass, respectively — a clear and concise vision has been realized.
Clocking in at 40 minutes, the album plays long enough to suck you in without any shortchange of repetition. After the jaunty thrill of side one, the last five tracks seem to meld together — a dizzying spell of spaced psychosis, with only your heartbeat driving the dance.
Recorded at Eugene’s own Track Town Records and mixed in the Whit by Victor De Souza Franca, the LP is evidence that Eugene’s music world could have proper production value if only the interminable acoustic scene would give way to a century shift.
Believe your ears, folks, this new record from the High Step Society is lit. Expect to hear these jams around town after Saturday’s big release party.
High Step Society’s album launch with Doors, Soul Vibrator and Mr Moo starts 8 pm Saturday, Jan. 28, at WOW Hall; $10 adv., $12 door