Album review: Positive Force - Delicate Steve

By Graham Reid

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Album cover for Positive Force. Photo / Supplied
Album cover for Positive Force. Photo / Supplied

Appropriately on a usually left-field/world music label, comes the indie/outsider New Jersey-based multi-instrumentalist Steve Marion who hit the New York Times critics' choice section with his debut.

Marion writes and records everything on this instrumental album (aside from guests on wordless vocals) and manages to meld George Harrison's sentimental slide playing style, a lo-fi Santana in fiddly-twiddle mode and romantic downbeat balladry alongside eerie Indo-ambient electronic whoopery and chunky MOR stadium rock as rendered by an indie artist (think a $12 Toto on Afria Talks To You).

Yep, it's an odd concoction and at its best (the vaguely Chinese-cum-Hawaiian sounding title track, Luna which closes proceedings) it possesses an uplifting, exotic pop quality.

Opener Ramona Reborn however with lo-fi piano and repetitive fingers-on-blackboard slide guitar isn't the most enticing intro and often the impression is of instrumental music in search of a vocalist as the melodies invite lyrics (the Harrison/Beach Boys-like Love).

That said, this is peculiarly engaging stuff because you aren't quite sure where it has come from or is going to. Prepare to be surprised and seduced.

Stars: 4/5
Verdict: Oddly engaging lo-fi second album that bewilders and beguiles.

- TimeOut / elsewhere.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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