Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Forthcoming via the UK-based imprint Melodic on July 7th is "Arranged Waves", the sixth full length studio album of Stephen Steinbrink which is now re-released for a wider audience after being initially put out via Christian Filardo's Arizona-based Holy Page label as a limited cassette tape edition. And although we've kinda turned our heads into folk'ish things a bit throughout the last two years or so it took quite a bit to embrace Mr. Steinbrinks more easy, harmonic, estival and surely 80s-induced view on Folk stylewise as we're usually rather going for the blurry, melancholia driven aspects of the genre. But the straighter, sparse and - despite being played by a human being - drum machine-like beats of "A Simple Amateur Of Your Ideal World" accompanied by tender, psychedelic harmonies opened our ears and so did the "Synesthetic Ephemera" surfing the same wave on an uptempo level, providing flanging guitars and a rich melodious foundation for late summer evenings with a balmy breeze going on. Introducing the "Brand New Maniac Brain Holder" Stephen Steinbrink even uses Field Recordings of church bells and provides a whole, though self-absorbing song based on feedbacks and drones before he returns to the intimate Easy Folk / Singer-Songwriter thing again which is a bit too trival and arbitrary for us. Going through the rest of the album we see the 80s return with cheesy offbeats and plastic drums on "It's So Pretty What You Did For Me" to great, brightening effect which makes this one the best and most outstanding song on "Arranged Waves" whilst "It Takes A Lot To Change Your Mind" is dealing with relationship issues on a more abstract level. "Sand Mandalas" introduces blurry, soft-focused and kitsch dripping emotions and so does "Impress My Memory" although abstaining from any percussion elements whilst the short, instrumental, title providing closing tune recalls masterly crafted Post-PostRock on a highly intimate level. Not necessarily everyone's cup of tea for mentioned reasons but a proper, possibly a bit short-lived Folk album for this summer season.