Making Time / Mechanical Friend 7″ reissue
Iron Lung presents a reissue of this long-forgotten 1980 7” record from Boston’s the STEVES, a synth punk duo that was definitely of their time sonically but has enough to separate them from other punk/new wave groups. The drums and synth set-up was not especially fresh in 1980, what with bands like DEVO getting MTV play and cult heroes like the SCREAMERS and LOS MICROWAVES employing a similar approach, if not attitude. Underground music has come full circle enough that the electronic whooshes and electro-bass sound as contemporary now as they did back then, but what strikes me the most about “Making Time” is its economical, straightforward songwriting and vocal delivery. It’s a short, well-written song that is performed without the affect or provocation of much of that era’s punk. When the chorus of “Making time for making time” hits, it’s a perfect melodic moment, reminiscent of ’60s pop as much as a robotic KBD curiosity. “Mechanical Friend” is the first-person account of a “robot lover” describing itself and how it’s “here to serve you” over slow, ESQUIVEL-leaning instrumentation. So, it’s weird, but the melodic, earnest vocal performance wins again. If the early days of synth punk or new wave get you moving, check out this unusual disc, and keep an eye out for two more STEVES reissues from Iron Lung.