Steady Habits “Hold In Your Breath (EP)” (Independent, 2020)

There is a band called Steady Habits which are a Connecticut-based American punk-ska band: this is definitely not them. This Steady Habits is the unmistakable new Americana project of Sean Duggan of Loud Mountains, and there is nothing loud about it but the statement he makes. Sean and Kevin of Loud Mountains made a quiet splash on the Oxford folk scene these last few years and recently went their separate ways when Kevin went off to Nashville; Happily means twice as much music for the world.

Based in Oxfordshire but originally hailing from Chicago, Sean Duggan sings flawless Alt-country vocals that transport one back to the mid-90s immediately. The EP includes a very pleasing mix of Americana instruments that pop up and fade away without moving the focus from Duggan’s lyrics. Banjo, resonator, pedal steel, fuzzy electric and acoustic guitar are all softly well-played and well-produced.

The opener, ‘Holding Your Breath’, hints at the alt-country. The scent of the cleanest bars wafting by in the pedal steel, and the freshly laundered plaid of Better Than Ezra style vocals. The following song, ‘Borrowed Time’ leans into the pedal steel and goes full jangle. Simple, undeniably ’90s, drums, circa ripped baggy jeans, and a fuzzy electric rhythm guitar brings the long-haired sound of alt-country. Finally, ‘Edge of Changing’ slows the pace, loses drums for a banjo, and goes as deep as the secret pools of teen summers. The words are sparse and thin but span the breadth of the experience of life transition.

The EP showcases an excellent new band with tremendous potential while being an exciting blend of ’90s nostalgia. Also out is Kevin Duggan’s new EP 94′ Spring.

Oxford meets Chicago in the mid-90s: Steady Habits

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