The new EP from Steff and the Articles is a pleasure, showing one of Tucson's most promising young bands reaching a higher plane, its unique pop-jazz blend filled with memorable hooks.
Why It Was So draws strength from Steff Koeppen's sophisticated arrangements that make the most of her band's unusual instrumentation, giving focus to both piano and violin without overemphasizing either. Opener "Te Extraño" ties piano, violin and vocal melodies together, balanced and catchy throughout.
"We Won't Know" begins with Koeppen's piano, pensive and melancholy. And as the song gathers steam, the band retains that tone while filling it out into a lush and varied landscape. The interplay between guest trumpeter Danny Torgersen and Alexandra Tuggle on violin in the song's instrumental middle section adds another layer of listening enjoyment.
"Leave You Alone" and "Good Company" crank up the tempo and the band's jazzy roots, yet still deliver with poppy melodies. The EP saves its best for last, with Koeppen's vocals shining on "What a Terrible Thing to Do," a brokenhearted ballad that plays on all the band's strengths.
Since last year's Stories You Can't Tell, Koeppen's compositions and arrangements have grown sharper, and the talented Articles thrive in their inventive style.