Heavy Steps stays focused on You, Conduit
You, Conduit (Independent)
According to Heavy Steps’ Bandcamp page, the act’s debut full-length was recorded over a 12-year period with the aid of three sound engineers. Instead of the disorganized mess you might expect from an album with such a fractured genesis, You, Conduit is a concise and focused collection of artfully damaged lo-fi pop.
This isn’t to suggest that the album lacks variety—far from it. The opener “Don’t Worry About the Fire” is an ominous death march led by a ferociously distorted chord organ, while “Not Not” is a noise-drenched ukulele ditty that sounds a bit like it was recorded on cassette, then left to melt in the Hawaiian sun. The experimental material is complemented by a few mood-setting interludes along with some guitar-oriented pop-rock numbers, and hook-heavy tracks like “Donut Stop (Run)” and “Saturna/Higher Love” are gratifyingly straightforward.
This breadth is particularly impressive when you consider that Heavy Steps member Chris van der Laan also plays in the pop-punk combo Wars, the hardcore band Miss Black America, and the stoner-rap duo Chrissy & Ryry. With Heavy Steps, he hands off the bulk of the lead vocals to Melissa Gregerson, and her haunting vibrato is the thread that unifies the album’s sonically adventurous track list. All of this makes You, Conduit well worth the $5 that the digital download will cost you—and if we’re lucky it won’t take another 12 years for van der Laan and Gregerson to record the follow-up.