Hear The Track HereLast one out of the reviewbox last month is the first review in this month's joblot. Ain't democracy wonderful. Steve Smith, in case you haven't noticed is the one man on the planet who is bound and determined to give me the musical education I so obviously need. Hey, nothing wrong with that. I think a person can never learn enough, and lets face it, the man definitely knows his little dotty things (Ed: I think he is referring to the fact that Steve Smith can read and write music and SG obviously thinks a note is one of those square yellow things that have something to do with the post.). Aaahhh, burt, can he make entertaining, lucid music that has a spark of life and humanity and there, I am afraid, the jury is still out. Not because of anything that Steve is doing, but merely on a matter of personal musical taste. The best kind of music for me is one that carries and/or evokes an emotion, music that carries its heart on its sleeve, as it were.
Even though I've always had a decent enough time (and even a good ironic chuckle or two) with Steve's work, there still hasn't been anything that really set my ears alight. Now that may well be - as I say - down to my own spartan taste but I also think the way that Steve Smith works may have something to do with it. My problem with classically trained musicians (I married one and I know lots of others) is that they are - as you would expect - technically perfect but there is an edge of ennui (boredom even) that comes across with the music. It doesn't happen always, that's for sure, but it does happen often enough to be worthy of note. Nonetheless, the quality of work Steve comes up with is never in doubt, this is a very inventive musician. Take, for example, last months track The Other Steve (November 20006), as much as I liked it's chilled approach and even went so far as to Highly Recommend it, but I still haven't had the Steve Smith keeper I have been waiting for.
Tell you what though, In 25 Sleeps comes REAL close to what I am looking for, and a lot closer than any previous SS track. It's classical string arrangement and timely Christmas message are winners in every way and if this is the real Steve Smith on vocals I'd say well done that man. However, it's the impact of the soft tones of the string arrangement against the harsh reality detailed in the excellent lyrics that this track really hits home. A jarring, very unseasonal theme yes, but one I found myself ticking off the boxes on. However, one line in particular, sticks out and resonates with me. 'Imagine being a kid who thinks Christmas is a lie' says it all about this song and the sadness and depth of feeling in both the lyric and vocal delivery mark this out as being a bit special. People who know me know I have a bah humbug approach to Christmas because of the things Steve sings about here so he's bang on there as well.
MUST HAVE for your Christmas stocking to remind you what it is all about.