Monday 21 Apr
CD reviews

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0

Wonderful 'Wondervisions'

By Stephen Carradini November 12th, 2010
If the emergence of two bands signals the start of something bigger, I'm really excited about the move toward playful prog rock. I've always hated the stuffy certainty and seriousness of the music that most technically astute musicians create. Giddy guitar heroes Fang Island kicked off the sound, and recently tapped sonic brethren Delicate Steve to be their support on their current tour.

Delicate Steve's debut album, "Wondervisions," is probably the only prog album I've ever heard that I wish were longer. In addition to the austere music, the unwieldy length of most tunes turned me off to prog. Delicate Steve, also known as Steve Marion, doesn't have that problem. The guitar wizard knocks down 11 instrumental tracks in 29 minutes. Four of them are intros or interludes, leaving seven full tunes here for your smile-inducing enjoyment.

And boy, are these tunes enthusiastic. Delicate Steve prefers major keys and exuberant melodies. Standout track "Don't Get Stuck (Proud Elephants)" pairs a twinkling keys with a twangy acoustic guitar run through a mess of pedals, creating an incredibly bright and unusual sound. On highlight "Butterfly," Marion stacks guitar tracks like he's building a skyscraper, resulting in a complex but not esoteric tune that ebbs and flows into a towering conclusion. The payoff is the recurring guitar theme backed by a massive chord riff that follows the pedigree of "Bohemian Rhapsody" and Bright Eyes' "Road to Joy" in high-drama entrances.

It is incredibly clear that Delicate Steve has massive songwriting skill, and that positive creates the only frustration with this album. At 29 minutes and seven full songs, it feels like he's holding back a bit. "Flyin' High" fades out at its apex, "Z Expression" leads the listener to believe something is coming that never arrives, and each of the four mini-tracks seem to foreshadow something.  

Delicate Steve has only given us a taste of what he can do. It's a brilliant strategy, if that's what it is; dropping "Butterfly," "Don't Get Stuck" and "The Ballad of Speck and Pebble" on listeners creates the desire for more Delicate Steve, which Delicate Steve promises ... later. I thought cliffhangers were only for the video segment of our audio/visual entertainment.

"Wondervisions" is a great CD, featuring piles of ideas, unique riffs and an overall positive attitude. It establishes that Delicate Steve has the technical chops and the songwriting skill to make a name very quickly on the indie-rock scene. Here's to hoping he's prolific, so we get more of this excellent music ASAP.

As for "Wondervisions," you'll have to wait till Feb. 1, 2011, but you can check out some tunes from the album at his MySpace now.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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