On Here Comes Dreamboat, the peculiar debut album by Philadelphia’s Son Step, twin brothers Jon and Chris Coyle do the improbable: They make the amorphous palpable. They take nebulous avant-garde noise and droning ambient swells, feed it an occasional spoonful of sugary garage-punk and cook it till it pops.
The quartet — singer/sequencer Jon, bassist Chris, sampler/guitarist Patrick Lamborn and drummer Matt Scarano — makes catchiness the rule rather than the exception. Songs like the eerily twinkling “I’m Only” bolster Jon’s handsome vocals with contagious melody and a twisted rhythm slithering through a jumble of guitar fuzz and electronic blips.
“I think our common goal is to take the listener ‘out there,’ to an abstract place, but to simultaneously hit them with the directness of our song-form,” says Chris of Son Step’s hypnotically odd and beautiful sounds and structures. “The grooves tend to be off-kilter, and the harmonies sometimes unfamiliar, but the spirit of it all forces you to take it all in meaningfully. At least that’s what we hope.”
His bro concurs. “We bundle up a lot of things into these tunes: rhythms, moods, textures,” says Jon. “Often that mix tends to feel a bit scatterbrained before we get close to the finish line. But when we open them up long enough, we manage to reach a very specific sound that we can all really identify with.”
Thu., Sept. 20, 7 p.m.; Fri., Sept. 21, 9 p.m., $5-$20, with the Bodyfields Collective, First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., 215-413-1318, livearts-fringe.org.