16 Apr 2024
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Steve Wells - Album Review: Songs For Summer Rain

16 Jun 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

When I heard that Steve Wells (ex-Fur Patrol) was releasing his debut solo album I had no idea what to expect, but I know it wasn’t this! For a musician who made his name as guitarist in a multi-platinum band, there are way more keyboards here than one would expect, and the production makes this album sound huge. I kept imagining I was down at Lake Tekapo, feeling insignificant while looking up at the stars, and then when I read the press release, I realised it was inspired by the dramatic landscapes of Steve’s African childhood (having grown up in Zambia). “I recall the 8 months or so of hot and dry. Then the wind would change, and we could smell the rain in the air. Looking out over the plains, we would see the thunderheads coming our way. It was so exciting. When the storm hit, us kids would run wild in the rain.”

But what makes this album so interesting is that through the 11 songs we are taken on multiple journeys, and we never know where it is going to lead. The multi-tracked staccato guitars on Dreams of an Angel are percussive and very African in nature, while Not What You Want is a grungy mix of rock and electronica delivered in a manner which one can imagine being utilised by Robert Smith as it combines tunefulness and discord in a wonderfully messy whole.

Contrast that to W1S which may be keyboard led, but the riffs behind it are massive and one can just “see” this being played by a metal act at Wacken, while Waste My Time features Lucy Day (Lumoy) who brings an ethereal beauty to a song which is way more sombre and restrained. Steve has a great understanding of pace and balance, so the album moves through different styles, all of which have deliberately been placed to create contrast between what has gone before and what comes next. To play this on shuffle (which should be outlawed) would be nothing short of criminal as one of the delights is the way we move through the album, a real voyage of discovery. The material varies in length from just over one minute to six, and the huge soundscapes always have purpose and meaning; there is an intent which can often be missing from that type of music and one can easily imagine this being used in a cinematic context as it is hugely expressive. Well worth the investigation.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Steve Wells

Former guitarist in platinum-selling band Fur Patrol, in 2007 Steve Wells took a break from music to pursue life as a photographer - famously taking a portrait of Former Libertines and Baby Shambles lead singer Pete Doherty eating syringes for his personal series ‘A Table’.

In 2017 he returned to music as a composer-collaborator for film scores and electro tracks in duo Super8Sonic. Like so many creatives, 2020 inspired Steve to write, produce and release his debut EP, the electro-dance Poolside - and sparked a continuation of solo creativity, resulting in his debut album Songs For Summer Rain, featuring the singles Makeshift Heart & Steal the Sun.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Steve Wells

Releases

Songs for Summer Rain
Year: 2022
Type: Album
Poolside
Year: 2020
Type: EP

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