July 14, 2024

Delicate Steve – “Till I Burn Up” is like an excitable puppy wanting to play

ANTI RECORDS 1st March 2019

Two years on from the first Delicate Steve album I heard, I remember its freshness, its difference from the releases around it. Purely instrumental guitar music, using conversational guitar tones and phrasings that suggest more the line of a lead vocal than a typical guitar solo, this stood out.

Unsuitable as background music, everything seemed to grab the attention and be rammed full of busy ideas. No surprise; the next album, his fourth is more of the same. Perhaps some darker moments and some electro beats but the feel isn’t far removed. Delicate Steve is the working name for Steve Marion – producer and guitarist, who has worked with Kanye West, Paul Simon, and has a very individual vision for what he wants to do with his music.

Tunes – or more accurately, guitar songs – get busy, pensive, dancey, circular and force the attention onto what is going on. I hear a guitar voice I associate with prog rock playing the purest sort of pop, something XTC strived towards in the late seventies. As I felt with the last album, this is strange, as in “what is he trying to do”. Now I realise he’s inventing a new paradigm and sticking with it till it is recognised (or “Till I Burn Up”). Full of hooks and insanely catchy, this is almost infuriating in its refusal to play easy to categorise and easy to switch into the background. It doesn’t let up and it won’t let you rest – it has something to say and you must hear it.

Steve tries hard and you may like this or you might find him as annoying as an excitable puppy when you want a quiet moment. Either way, he’s worth some time to check out. It’s not quite like anything else.

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