Thursday, March 7, 2019

Album Review: Delicate Steve - Till I Burn Up

This is an instrumental guitar album, but if you’re coming in expecting shred you will be sorely disappointed. Maybe the artist’s name should have tipped you off that this is not going to be a guitar neck-burning metal wank-fest. But this ain’t Larry Carlton, either. In fact, it’s hard to put a name on what it is.
We could try finding comparisons, but there are none. No direct ones, at least. The closest I can come to is John Carpenter meets Adrian Belew. Intrigued? You should be.

It’s kind of like the analog, guitar geek response to the synth-wave revival of the past few years. But where Kavinsky deals in neons and posterised images of fast cars and leather-clad blondes, Delicate Steve favours a more low-fi imaginarium.

All the songs are at once trippy and danceable, retro and futuristic. I say songs, because even though it’s a purely instrumental record, the guitar sings. Everything is a hook: the guitar riffs and melodies, the electronic drum patterns, the synthesiser blips and soundscapes and all the special effects… It’s all designed to etch itself in your mind like a Sparks song on psychotropic drugs.

It’s hard to know if this is the work of a genius or an idiot savant… Is it earnest? Is it ironic? Impossible to tell. The songs sometimes seem too perfect. Bu what’s for certain is that the album is great fun, and behind the mind-bending sounds coming at you from every side of the spectrum are peerless melodies, almost like childhood ditties, that will make their way into your subconscious and are likely to pop out at the most inopportune time.

Join Apple Music HERE to listen to the entire album

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