Delicate Steve - Till I Burn Up - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Delicate Steve - Till I Burn Up

by Nathan Fidler Rating:8 Release Date:2019-03-01
Delicate Steve - Till I Burn Up
Delicate Steve - Till I Burn Up

With Till I Burn Up as his fifth full album of this decade, Delicate Steve - guitarist Steve Marion - you could say he’s quite prolific. After a two year break, he brings more sterling guitar work to put under your spotlight.

By simply forgoing any lyrics or even any vocals at all, Marion makes his challenge of holding an audience all the more difficult. While music is undoubtedly emotive, there is usually confirmation of the mood in either the lyrics or the delivery of them. So the real question is whether, someone who attempts an instrumental album, can get the same level of reaction out of the listener as an artist with vocals and lyrics.

Marion follows his same trusted formula on Till I Burn Up at a top level listen, eschewing a vocal melody for a guitar-driven lick instead. This, over any of the other instruments which provide the backdrop for his melodic playing, has what’s gotten him this far.

What changes is the tone; by adding in synth and drum patterns which sound more programmed, along with a more triumphant lead guitar, there is a sense of urgency. The whole album - and again, without lyrics, it’s harder to distinguish between tracks by name - feels like it should be the soundtrack to a cyberpunk film.

‘We Ride on Black Wings’ has the doom-mongering bleats in the background, which when combined with the puddling, echoed buzz of an unrecognisable guitar make you feel like you’re in Bladerunner. Elsewhere, title track ‘Till I Burn Up’ feels like the beacon, with solo effects on the guitar allowing Marion’s chops to blare out like a call to arms while leaning on the choppy stylings of Albert Hammond Jr. in between licks.

It’s not all just a mind-numbing exercise though, the textures he provides himself are varied, from the harpsichord sounding background of ‘Vacant Disco’ to throb and pulse of opener ‘Way Too Long’, the latter of which again offers a subtle feel-good vibe until it lowers the mood somewhat in the middle with a thoughtful little run.

‘Rubberneck’ possibly strays too far in it’s 90s rave-scene opening, but is somewhat redeemed by the main riff, again calling you to climb onto your Tron light bike and take to the night of the city.

When instrumental albums can give you as much feeling as any other music, you’re getting your rush in the purest form. There is no reverse of “context” you need to get from reading the lyric sheet - what you feel and enjoy is all right there on the first listen.

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