Stephie Coplan & The Pedestrians

Stephie Coplan & The Pedestrians

Independent release, 2012

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


Twenty twelve, I’m a like you already. It’s only January 6 and the first contender for this December’s “Best of” list has arrived.

Stephie Coplan & The Pedestrians play whip-smart, subversively witty piano-based power pop that has already drawn apt comparisons with Ben Folds, as well as high praise from Fountains Of Wayne (“immensely talented”). The most remarkable aspect of this remarkable debut, though, is the way that singer-songwriter Coplan repeatedly creates an entire world within the space of a few lines. By the time each memorable chorus arrives, you’re already invested in these characters and their fates.

Opener “JERK!” finds Coplan channeling that iconic Chrissie Hynde sneer as she narrates a heavy, hard-edged take on a highly recognizable relationship archetype—the smart girl who knows better, but just can’t seem to quit the bad boy.  The pulsating chorus builds to this fine lyrical hook: “You’re the jerk who keeps turnin’ me on.” Equally impressive is the density of sound this trio—Coplan on piano, synths and vocals, John F. Hebert on bass and Shane Considine on drums—are capable of generating on a powerhouse number like this. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Take Me Back To The Suburbs” is Fountains Of Wayne and Liz Phair conspiring to rewrite “Rockin’ The Suburbs” into a spoiled mallrat’s rant—devastatingly on-target, incredibly catchy and at times laugh-out-loud funny. (Just one example: “Where I'm from, when you're mad at someone you don't use knives / You just hack their Twitter and ruin their lives.”)

“Caroline” feels like a lost Folds number with its rolling piano melody, well-arranged vocals, and witty storyline about a small-town girl who wants desperately to rebel even if she isn’t too clear about why. The highlight, though, is the bridge, where the song breaks down to just Coplan and her piano and achieves a moment of genuine pathos for a character whose choices haven’t inspired much sympathy up until then. It’s never easy to dance the tightrope between snark and sweetness, but Coplan seems to have mastered it already.

“Make You Mine” finds Coplan inhabiting a fresh guise, a sort of lost hipster girl gently stalking a guy who’s just not that into her. The bridge again takes a welcome left turn, transplanting metaphysical insight into an otherwise earth-bound narrative. And then closer “We Don’t Need Much” comes along to deliver the gentlest, prettiest anti-materialist screed you’ll ever hear (“Because if I have your love / Then stuff is only stuff”).

Applying a short-story writer’s narrative skills to piano-based power pop, Coplan creates a series of songs that entertain with edge, disarm with earnestness, and ultimately stick in your head like half-eaten cotton candy. Available January 21 from (and available for pre-order right now at, Stephie Coplan & The Pedestrians is the perfect antidote to dumbed-down modern pop, an eighteen-minute appetizer that leaves you hungry for more from this phenomenal young talent.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2012 Jason Warburg and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent release, and is used for informational purposes only.