When people start to try to describe Delicate Steve, people generally start speaking in roundabout terms that, more often than not, create a stronger visual than capture a sound. A good example comes from Chuck Klosterman, music journalist and author of several books including Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs. In a publicity email for Delicate Steve’s first album Wondervisions, he goes on to say “Like a hydro-electric Mothra rising from the ashes of an African village burned to the ground by post-rock minotaurs.”
90FM Album Review: Delicate Steve-Positive Force
What’s even stranger than the descriptions Delicate Steve tends to yield is the truth in them. Delicate Steve is a New York based psychedelic instrumental pop band lead by guitarist Steve Marion, the band’s namesake, and what they lack in vocals, they more than make up for in infectious hooks and soaring melodies. The guitar is the strong center piece, and often sticks out so strongly it does indeed invoke thoughts of some great beast looming over the rest of the track.
With the band’s sophomore effort Positive Force, the catchy hooks take a bit of a back seat to stronger imagery and a more traditional psychedelia tone. The result is an album that stands as a whole better than in parts, while Wondervisions dabbled in interludes between tracks, they played off like short standalone tracks.
In Positive Force the interludes play a much stronger role in transitioning from song to song, creating a seamless sound from track 1 to track 11. As a great fan of the band’s first effort, it’s hard not to notice the stark changes in sound from their first effort, so when the unavoidable question arises of whether it’s better than the first, I find myself struggling with a definitive answer. Instead take this, Delicate Steve earned its national success through creating music that’s difficult, and for some, impossible to describe in words, and in Positive Force succeed in the same goal, without treading the same ground Wondervisions walked. Combined with the strength of the longer tracks, that’s more than enough to be a great record, regardless of which is better.
Mitchel De Santis
90FM Program Director