Blue Future 2018
Celebrating his coral anniversary as an artist, Swedish bluesman rolls around the world and corrals his recent recordings to create a new narrative.
Steve Future has been building a steady following since his debut at Kristianstad Jazz Festival, although an entire decade would pass before the veteran served up something as tangible as a record, and not for nothing his 2017’s EP – one of a few that this compilation is comprised of – was titled “It Takes Time”: indeed, it does. Preserved for posterity in various places in the UK, Sweden, Germany and the States – hence “7 Cities” – the pieces gathered here highlight different aspects of Future’s oeuvre, running from heavy tracks to acoustic numbers, with Steve equally adept at laying down a sharp guitar riff and whipping up a harp to wail away. Still, the Scandinavian take on Americana can be quite peculiar.
Far from being purist, Future doesn’t avoid occasional AOR gloss, as the declamatory “Future Kids” and tight “Bananas & Diamonds” demonstrate, a female backing supporting Steve’s sweet vocals, yet the slider-kissed vibrato of “Blue Heron” packs a stronger punch, whereas the doom-laden “Blended” feels a tad theatrical, especially when synthesizers and bass mix to create a funk fright. Yes, the fiddle-adorned country cut “Civil War” should sound authentic in its Appalachian, by way of fjords, simplicity, which the intense “Black Water” – distilled to the voices, harmonica and strum – may render irresistible. Less so, “Steal The Water” is a solid attempt to shape a topical song, but the rock ‘n’ roll licks the singer deploys negate any anger, while fueling the incendiary drive of “Blue Volvo” just fine.
Still, the humorous romanticism lurking in “Waterfall” would work much better if Future’s lyrics were comprehensible; unfortunately, they’re not and his words make little sense even in printed form, except for standard blues lines like those that drive “Didn’t Mean Nothing” from despair to escapism. It doesn’t matter much, because the rambunctious swagger of “Boned Rock” must sway live crowds who won’t give a damn about a piece’s message. Ain’t that what music is about?