Texan auteur returns to the pop-rock fray under his own name and brings back the light even elephants could forget.
“My contribution is more like an undertow”: creative spirits rarely see their place in the grand scheme of things in such a modest light, and gloom ‘n’ gloss pieces titled “No” – as the one whence this line comes – rarely feel so life-affirming, yet then, an artist who not only composed scores for commercials and movies but also wrote the conference music for the World Economic Forum is bound to see the good and the bad on a global level. No wonder Remove term: Steve McAllister’s first full-length, if rather brief, album in more than a decade often sounds simultaneously sad and warm, and his stellar accompanists render it rather special, following in the wake of a song without stealing the aural show.
And, indeed, how can one ignore the sentiment of this platter’s title or the refrain of its opener “Because I Love You Too Much” which finds McAllister’s piano is brushed with electronica and various ivories and shot through with a steady groove before his intimate vocals state Steve’s vulnerability and indecisiveness, delivering a confession that Dave Gregory and Mike Keneally’s guitars shroud in delicate psychedelia until the punchy “Something In The Water” pushes the singer’s luck into jangly pop. Similar Sixties-kissed stylings drive the slider-oiled serenity of “Roll On” towards infectious riffs and the sax-smeared, soulful “Get Yourself Together” in which communal appeal and personal strength are tightly intertwined, while the almost-orchestral, deceptively old-timey “The 3rd Side Of An Egg” offers sublime balladry for the listener to revel in, McAllister’s voice softening to a velveteen whiff to breathe the hypnotic melody into ether.
There, Rafael Bernardo Gayol’s reggae-scented beats provide a jovial structure to the same grand scheme and help Steve locate joie de vivre in mundane and make “On It Like A Narcotic” a smile-inducing gem, a contrast to the exquisite “Sunshine Ladies” that’s filled with sweet, somnolent languor and the solemn “A Letter To My Son” – a sort of optimistic hymn which will be darkened at the end. Still, the lullaby of “Sailor’s Waltz” – performed by Steve McAllister alone – closes this wondrous album on a scintillating note, letting everybody know the world’s going to be okay and leaving a lasting aftertaste.