Delicate Steve’s “Positive Force” is exactly that.
I truly love reviewing albums that have little to no lyrics. As a writer, it’s easy to get caught on what the artist or group is literally saying with words and what they mean by it, rather than how they choose to say it with music. As such, a largely instrumental album such as Delicate Steve’s “Positive Force” allows a writer to flex his or her muscles as an objective critic.
“Delicate” Steve Marion is a virtuoso on guitar; his arpeggios are enviable. Only the second album to be released by his band, it reveals a truly dynamic tour de force. Upon its release, he enlisted his indie music buddies Yeasayer, Yellow Ostrich, Javelin, and many more to each share a song from “Positive Force” on their respective Facebook pages (a full list and links can be found here).
And to top it all off, all of this forward thinking promotion and ingenious community spirit, the subject in question is incredibly technical, musically speaking: one listen of “Big Time Receiver” will reveal to you a guitarist so apt, so confident in his delivery, and so clever in his direction with the album as a whole. It feels like a perfect summer’s day, complete with the clear starry night that is “Luna”, a perfect end to a robust piece of work. ‘Wally Wilder’, to paraphrase a fan, is “maybe the most life affirming track of 2012”, with a traveling beat, something that might be playing as you walk along the road with a big backpack and a thumb sticking out. The title track instantly conjures a better time, an Instagrammed memory of daisies in a field, swinging high on a hot day. ‘Afria Talks To You’ is in your face, and a personal favourite. With a catchy riff that had me hooked by the second verse, it wouldn’t be out of place in a convertible.
Delicate Steve has proved themselves to be almost religiously revelatory, their music, inspired. “Positive Force” is just that – so wonderfully quirky, you can hardly not like it.