Steve Gunn – The Unseen In Between – Album Review by Killian Laher
Steve Gunn follows up 2016’s excellent Eyes On The Lines with another collection of songs. No major departure this time out, more a honing of his sound. Opener New Moon gives a good indication of the sound of the album, Gunn’s relaxed, confident guitar strumming, redolent of Led Zeppelin’s acoustic material, with string embellishments here and there, giving the song a sort of ‘classic’ feel. It, like much of the album, could soundtrack the great American road trip.
A hint of country creeps into Vagabond and Luciano. The latter of these is something of a centrepiece, with sweeping strings, twanging pedal steel and soft backing vocals. Chance has one of the rolling, shuffling guitar figures that Gunn typically plays as his signature. His playing is excellent, complex yet there is not a note played that shouldn’t be there on this one, one of the more epic tracks here. New Familiar is another track built on a clever Gunn guitar motif and a scorching guitar solo midsong. Songs like Lightning Field act as a vehicle for his superb guitar work.
The album’s sequence is important. Not sure how well a song like Stonehurst Cowboy works out of context but here, it acts as a change of pace, a slowing down. The track sees Gunn channel the songwriting of John Martyn, minus the slurred vocals. Penultimate track Morning Is Mended is as folky as he has sounded to date, all fingerpicked guitars and soft vocals. It finishes with Paranoid, the most uptempo track, a borderline anthem with full drums and a strident beat.
It’s an album with great musicianship and a gorgeous sound, one that is destined to become the great ‘grower’ album of 2019.
Track List –
1. New Moon
4. Stonehurst Cowboy
6. New Familiar
7. Lightning Field
8. Morning Is Mended