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Steve Thorne - Levelled - Emotional Creatures: Part 3 CD (album) cover


Steve Thorne

Crossover Prog

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4 stars STEVE THORNE is a singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist who is releasing his 6th album here. A well- known artist with the "Emotional Creatures" since 2005, he is the missing triptych. He founded before COLONY EARTH and THE SALAMANDER PROJECT. His musical orientation draws on melodic compositions with traces of folk at many times, the Anglican terroir, and other sequences shot on indie and especially prog rock in general. I personally find the influences of Peter GABRIEL, GENESIS, JETHRO TULL, TEARS FOR FEARS for nursery rhymes and other rhythmic ballads. In terms of sound effects, a few voices will surely remind you of SUPERTRAMP but above all the great PINK FLOYD with voices from "The Wall" and shouts like "Animals". I had come across it like a good number of progressives since he had managed to bring Tony LEVIN, Nick D'VIRGILIO, Geoff DOWNES and some members of IQ and JADIS to his album, just that. The different titles were: "Littlle Boat P1" begins the album with a little nursery rhyme in the Charisma Label atmosphere, with fanfare trumpet, bleating and festive noises in a square, all to soak up the typical bucolic English world. "He Who Plays The Piper" with its 9 minutes allows you to delve even more into this universe with targeted connotations in relation to heliocentrism, there you do not have to dive into it; however the musical rhythm after this long intro is quite energetic, well in phase between the voice and the instruments for a good neo-prog, some will say crossover prog given the variety of sounds offered, short title inevitable; there is everything inside, hovering prog, neo-prog, an almost hypnotic atmosphere that quickly passes the title. "Rainy Day In New York" continues with a title where the voice is eyeing Peter GABRIEL's side, a song in rhythm as in the time when the prog tinged with bourgeoisie by offering only softer and nostalgic titles, I think there "And Then There Were Three" and its long disused synth solos, not bad but predictable, in short it is light and refreshing. "Waking Up" continues the musical walk with a ballad on the piano bringing the ethereal voice and simple but also engaging arpeggios, a beautiful ballad in itself on a spring evening in a park on the outskirts of London. "Word Salad Surgery" for a more energetic title, there I think of going to ARENA for the voice, which allows Steve not to keep the same rendering on his different songs; a nervous piece which pours into an agreed air without leaving in progressive convulsive convolutions as in his previous albums. Note a very nice solo guitar here, putting a little more energy. "Psalm 2.0" with always an intro to the "Sheep" of PINK FLOYD, in fact we often find these sheep in many titles, there I feel more the voice of Phil COLLINS or even that of FISH before losing a large part of his vocal cords, I speak of FISH because the magic guitar reminds me here of that of his friend Frank USHER on "Sunsets On Empire", in short a neo-prog piece with sensitivity, a melody also with these sheep who multiply at the end of the title. "The Fourth Wall" continues with an even more genesian sound which reminds me of the era of "Follow You, Follow Me" with a more pop fruity voice and even AOR, I hear there a refrain taken from "Heavy Metal" the sublime BOF of the film of the same name, I leave it to you to search, of course because you also have to put yourself a bit to contribution; the solo is faithful, well ventilated and lit. "Monkey Business" drives the point home with an air taken from Lewis CAROLL, piano taking for the nursery rhyme, I see the rabbit at the bend of an alley, I also hear archaic sounds of what XTC was doing so well, a Wally BADAROU synth, short festive title here with its small progressive development, voice back at the end. "Waves" follows for a more intimate air, a ballad validating the fact that Mr. Steve seems to have softened over time; it's beautiful but you can feel an air of repetition throughout the album. "I Won't Forsake Truth" does the same with a title starting on the piano, introspective title in ballad then rise more rock prog a little symphonic, it is air, it is fresh, it is also predictable, especially since the second half of the album; note this slide solo which makes you want to dance slow with your bride. "Little Boat p2" comes here to close this flight with the repeat of the 1st title and its final return of the sheep! an album in continuity.
Report this review (#2353063)
Posted Monday, April 20, 2020 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Back in 2005 I was sent the debut album by an artist I had never heard of, Steve Thorne, 'Emotional Creatures: Part One'. I may not have heard of him, but he had the whole of Jadis playing on it, plus the likes of Paul Cook, Tony Levin, Geoff Downes and Nick D'Virgilio! I was also so impressed with the artwork (by Danny Flynn), which was inspired by 'Squonk', that I not only bought a gicl'e print of the album art but also bought another print at the same time and they are both still framed and on my walls at home. That album was released on IQ's GEP label, but I lost touch after that as I moved to the other side of the world and asked that no-one ever send me any music to review ever again. Well, it worked for a while.

Consequently, I have only heard one of Steve's other albums, 2016's 'Island of the Imbeciles' which was also released on White Knight, and it is only now some four years later that he is back with the next. On this album he has totally changed his line-up and here he has been joined only by drummer Kyle Fenton (Cosmograf) and local guitarist Geoff Lea with Steve playing everything else himself as well as providing vocals. The concept behind this album is probably best expressed by reading the words of Steve himself, 'If the lyrical subject matter of this album upsets, triggers, threatens or offends you, I'm afraid you, as once did I, have a common and widespread problem known as 'cognitive dissonance' and are, unknowingly a member, as I was of the largest religious belief cult ever devised by human beings on earth known as 'Scientism' or, more accurately, 'Heliocentrism'.' We even get to hear Patrick McGoohan saying his most famous line from 'The Prisoner', 'I am not a number! I am a free man!' which is repeated in case you missed it first time.

Steve has never been afraid to say what he thinks, often providing social comment wrapped up in strong crossover progressive rock which takes his singer-songwriter style as a base and then moves on from that. Simple musical ideas often have complex arrangements placed over the top, all to provide the platform for Steve to clearly annunciate his ideas in a melodic and well thought out manner. There are times, such as on 'Word Salad Surgery' where the music takes flight with keyboards combining with superb lead guitar and dynamic drums, and others where it is far more laid back and dependent on acoustic guitar. He is a strong wordsmith, a great singer, with an innate understanding of string melodies and arrangements which makes this yet another incredibly interesting album.

Report this review (#2447427)
Posted Saturday, September 12, 2020 | Review Permalink

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