From the looks of the album cover, I thought this was going to be another folk-hippie band, but Asheville, North Carolina’s stephaniesid does not fall under that category. Labeled as an Indie-pop band, stephaniesid likes to think their sound is “more complex and compelling than that genre label implies.” Their latest album, Warm People, no doubt seems to live up to the complexity and enthusiasm they aspire for in their music. Warm People is complex in that there are layers upon layers of instrumental variety, overlaying vocals, and well thought-out lyrics. These three attributes all lead to one album jam-packed with entertainment. No matter what emotion you desire to feel, the album will complement that emotion and more.
Lead singer Stephanie Morgan has a rare voice that you will likely love or hate right off the bat, with a sound along the likes of Bjork, Joanna Newsome, or Mirah. In her vocals on the second track, “Hello From The South,” she seems to summon her inner Newsome, singing about “Green trees come in the spring/ Green trees cover everything.” The lyrics are nearly perfect, as it is the kind of song you want to play on those first spring sunny days, when everything feels alive again, including you.
Of all the tracks, the upbeat and dreamy “Big Grey Peepers” is my favorite. Accompanying its happy-go-lucky beats are cute lyrics: “I love words/ And some may fall out been waiting awhile for sunset […] from behind a cloud for a fancy light”. By the seventh track, “Mission From God,” the album starts to slow down. The ninth track, “Bones,” has a beautiful piano melody, and you can’t help but want to live inside the sound. Honestly, the last track and title track, “Warm People,” is my least favorite song. Nonetheless, even in saying that, I don’t dislike it.
Maybe it’s because I love awkwardness that I enjoyed this album right away. The non-traditional instrumentation and Morgan’s voice really create a unique sound. I wish I knew exactly who contributed to which songs, because I want to give every member credit for producing a great album. There is a long list of contributors on this album, but collectively Morgan, Chuck Lichtenberger, Michael Libramento, Krum, Matthew Richmond, and Jar-e, along with other guests on songs, all worked together and produced an album that was well cared for. Warm People gives me the warm fuzzies.