Delicate Steve, Wondervisions
Delicate Steve plays mostly instrumental music on its/his debut, Wondervisions. The band’s mastermind, Steve Marion, is a very creative (and skilled) guitar player, with a good sense of arrangement. He has a good melodic sense, as well. Ranging from proggy outbursts to rocking songs to slower ballads to noise, Wondervisions covers some territory. And a lot of it is very well done.
“The Ballad of Speck and Pebble” is a great rocker, with a fun, loping bass line, striking guitar verse line, and pretty vocal chorus. “Wondervisions” is a slower, keyboard-driven soul ballad in an odd meter, with a beautiful verse and anthemic chorus, and a simple-but-driving drum part. It’s an interesting choice of title track, considering that he clearly prefers the guitar, and yet “Wondervisions” has almost no stringed instruments. “Z Expression” is more minimal and experimental, with a fast keyboard line fading into a droney, organ-driven bit, with an epic keyboard melody line finally coming in most of the way through the song. “Don’t Get Stuck (Proud Elephants)” is a slow rocker in another odd meter, with another catchy melody, hypnotic keyboards, a fun bass line, and some excellent acoustic guitar lines below.
Delicate Steve’s Wondervisions is an excellent first album (although “delicate” is probably the last description that comes to mind). A lot of what he does is complex both technically and in his use of meters, but he writes lines that, despite their complexity, are still pretty and catchy. Writing this kind of music is difficult, but he knocks it out of the park. Steve Marion is virtuosic enough that he could try just about anything. It’ll be interesting to see what Delicate Steve tries on his albums to come.