Last summer, I was introduced to Delicate Steve when they opened for Aussie synth-rockers Cut Copy in Baltimore on a sweltering summer night, and what an introduction it was. While Delicate Steve’s 2009 debut WONDERVISIONS was written and produced entirely by Steve Marion, the group’s sole founder, he tours with a full five piece band.
Their music is kaleidoscopic and almost always instrumental, a whimsical blend of Afro melodies, wailing guitar solos and tropical percussion.
On stage, the band wore assorted pinnies and danced around with huge grins on their faces, the guitars all cranked up to 11. Steve’s hair was the shaggiest, draped over his face as he swung back and forth to the polyrhythmic grooves. It was like Fool’s Gold meets Dan Deacon, a brightly colored sonic commune where all are invited to drop everything and dance their faces off.
The fact that WONDERVISIONS was such a sugary rush makes it all the more surprising that “Two Lovers”, a cut from his new full-length Positive Force, is so mellow. Beginning with him plucking an acoustic guitar over what sounds like the ambient noises of a quiet suburban street, it then swings into a tender little lullaby of a song. Steve quietly croons the song’s namesake over shakers and glowing synths, and when attached to the intimate intro it feels like a track tailor-made for lying down in the shade on a summer’s afternoon--preferably with the other aforementioned lover by your side--and staring up at the rays of sun bursting through tree branches. It’s surprisingly gentle and graceful coming from this group, but it also radiates the sense of boundless warmth and general feel-goodness that we’ve come to expect. Preorder the album exclusively on iTunes if you so desire.