There's a pedigree of musical competency and absurdity in The Stepkids. Whilst it's well-documented that the three were in the touring bands of types like Alicia Keys and 50 Cent, their debut self-titled album depicted an artistic depth to their musicianship which may well have been lost playing songs which weren’t there own. On their new record, Troubadour, The Stepkids have continued to further their credentials as The Mothers of Reinvention.

From the beginning, the group pouts and exclaims with flashes of flippant Innervisions-esque rhythms in 'Memoirs of Grey' and 'The Lottery', which showcases versatility and fluidity that you’ll seldom find on many releases this year. This allows them to be as ambitious as their songs require.

"He's an insecure troubadour, Christ disguised as metaphors." 'An Insecure Troubadour' sounds a little more conventional and simplistic than most of the record. The call and response nature of the synthesisers and prominent vocals create a playful, effortless ambience, but it doesn’t quite have the same idiosyncratic atmosphere as many memorable moments on the album, which the flippant brass section at the beginning of the next track 'Symmetry' nicely illustrates. .

The instrumentation and subsequent textures on this record are stunning. Whilst there's a grandiose-edge to its breadth, at no point does it sound like an Andrew Lloyd Webber piece, and that's because of the honesty at the behest of the songs. Often soundscapes are created by the most charming of nuances; the slouching cymbals, a cappella and guitar harmonics of 'Brutal Honesty' or the militant, Mike Patton vocals of 'Sweet Salvation'. The most endearing qualities of The Stepkids are found within these elements, for sure.

It’s difficult to find any real brooding identity within the lyrical content of this release. Whilst there are nice moments, the aforementioned 'An Insecure Troubadour', it's not an aspect in which the group take too seriously: 'Bitter Bug', which is one of the characteristics that prevents them from creating songs that are as memorable as the influences which are so actively represented within the work. .

Troubadour is an incessantly endearing record is one which is encapsulates something promising and pure, finding moments that are perfectly capable of making you tap and gyrate. However, there's rarely enough for the songs to make a riveting impression and, as a result, it gets a little lost. Despite that, this is still an entertaining and interesting record which doesn't waste a turn of your time as the needle runs.