We review the new single from Stepford Wives – Counted Out
Following in the footsteps of many Post Punk acts of the modern day, Stepford Wives take a more dramatic and thoughtful approach to the genre. Continuing to forge ahead with their DIY roots and emotional lyrics; Counted Out is an extremely emotional song that really draws on the struggles of mental health and conformity.
With how strong the lyrics are on Counted Out, we’ll start there. As there are strong elements of broken relationships, conformity, and depression all revolving around the song, it becomes this beast that’s relatable in the most brutal of ways. With lines such as, “I’ve been slowly turning into someone in the mirror that I can’t recognise”. This line is one of the focal points of the track and pushes home a few elements and inferences, all of them a bitter pill to swallow. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, with other lyrics driving home a similar gut-punching feel to them.
Moving on to the other elements of the track, the guitars are a very clear and heavy component. With a mixture of lead, rhythm, and an acoustic section at the surprisingly subdued climax, there’s a lot going on. Naturally, with anything punk or punk-adjacent, there’s a heavy emphasis on guitar, in particular a fast tempo and variety of sounds. Counted Out in no exception to the rule, but is a more controlled burn than most. Leaving moments of more subdued noise in between those big hitting points.
The amount of variety in the guitar leaves the song with this constant freshness as there’s always some different noise or feel coming from it. It never reaches the point of monotony as you hear the same chugging riff 60 times in 3 minutes. Instead, there’s a continual evolution of sound, with different high-flying notes, and multiple points where the atmosphere differs ever so slightly without losing the original point of the track. And of course, the brief but surprisingly impactful introduction of an acoustic guitar to close the song out is surprisingly beautiful and poignant.
The bass is no slouch here when put up against a rhythm and lead, making its presence ever-known throughout with big notes that are soothing and smooth. Much gentler than some songs that opt for a hard-edged crunch to their tracks bass guitar.
Lastly are the drums, and they are absolutely fantastic. They bring real energy to the track that keeps up the punk feel, whilst still leaving room for that more melancholic mood. They feel slightly subdued but in the best way. With constant quick beats and a heavy emphasis on keeping the energy up. It’s a fine line to walk, and one that is walked impeccably well.
All in all, Counted Out is an absolutely fantastic track that will not just appeal to genre fans, but fans of the wider space revolving around a rock in general. It really does show the talent that Stepford Wives have, pushing forward their already strong start to their career wholeheartedly.