PREMIERE: Son Step - Mai Lai Wah

Laura Kerry

The video for Son Step’s “Mai Lai Wah” stitches together some very disparate parts. Opening on a bald eagle perched above a snow-covered mountain, it flips through a cloudy sky soaked in orange sunlight, airplanes, soccer players pulling off impressive moves and performing celebration rituals, and a home video dated May 31, 1992. In a stream of seemingly random found footage, that last item is likely the most personal. Showing two young boys performing on a suburban front stoop on toy guitar and one of those plastic radios with a microphone attached, it might come directly from the home video collection of Philadelphia-based Son Step members and twin brothers Jon and Chris Coyle.

If there’s a key to crack open the video, though, that may not be it. The only characteristic that actually seems to unify the different video clips is the music itself. Soft and reflective, “Mai Lai Wah”—a hint of what’s to come in the band’s forthcoming LP, Natural Majique—is the kind of song that swallows everything in its warmth. Under the influence of Son Step’s trancelike vocal harmonies and synth sounds that fall with the satisfaction of water droplets, each scene takes on the quality of slow, deliberate movement. In the turn of the eagle’s head, the glide of the plane, the arc of the soccer player’s bicycle kick, and, of course, the swaying of the twins’ future-telling porch performance, Son Step has created a strange kind of dance video. Unable to resist the glowing textures of “Mai Lai Wah,” you may find yourself joining in in the unconventional choreography.


Be sure to catch Son Step on their upcoming tour dates:

3/26 @ Milkboy Philly (Philadelphia, PA) w/ Square Peg Round Hole (Album Release), Moon Bounce
4/20 @ Songbyrd Music House & Record Cafe (Washington D.C.) w/ Young Rapids, Summer Salt, Jau Ocean
4/22 @ Magic Gardens (Philadelphia, PA)
4/23 @ Victory's (Columbus, OH) w/ Fine Animal, TBD
4/24 @ Smiling Skull Saloon (Athens, OH) w/ Crooked Spines, Turtle Island
4/25 @ The Comet (Cincinnati, OH) w/ TBD
4/27 @ Uel Zing (Bloomington, IN) w/ Duck Trash, Ol' Buddy
4/29 @ The Keep (Chicago, IL) w/ Paper Mice, Oshwa, Advance Base