CSFR 4084 SA
Hybrid Stereo SACD
The return of the songwriter-hero: No need for a clock or a calendar; Steve Strauss ticks in much more expansive dimensions. Roughly 10 years after his success with Just Like Love the singer and composer now presents his new album: Sea of Dreams. Why did it take so long? Because Steve Strauss lives in two worlds. Parallel to his passion for guitar and writing music this man from New York State is a social worker in his home town, or to put it in his words: "I am a man upon a road, It doesn't have a name, In my pockets only dust, But in my heart a flame...."
This flame brought him back — with 14 new songs and arrangements — to the Stockfisch Records studio. In this new material you might discover traces of the Steve Strauss of Just Like Love, but the striking thing is a new more courageous style. The noble Duesenberg guitar dominates in many of the songs, and there is a new playfulness. The title of the album betrays his new consciousness: he dives into a sea of personal dreams — "Monster(s)" inhabit a "Freaky World" devastated by "Acts of War."
Sounds like global criticism — which it is, but which is never hard or bitter. Lightness and humour are seminal elements in Sea of Dreams carried by the drive, strong melodies and the Stockfisch Studio team mix. The resulting sonic effect is highly complex but most importantly it supports Steve Strauss's ideas. Accordion and saxophone solos encounter unusual accompanying instruments like e.g. the tuba.
This album displays perhaps the biggest and most diverse sound spectrum of Günter Pauler's recent productions, from the expansive panorama-mix in "Monster" to the consciously sparse ballad "The Memory of Stones," which is purely a piano accompaniment and a flute-solo in the distance. A pastoral. In these quiet moments the poetic strength of his lyrics becomes particularly evident.
Steve Strauss is a master of his craft — telling a mini-story in each individual line. His voice has also matured: a more dark, powerful and emotional timbre. It is very moving to hear his tribute cover-versions of songs by two so completely different American songwriter heroes: "For The Turnstiles" by Neil Young and "With Open Arms" by Burt Bacharach. With the latter song he bids farewell to the listeners of his new album — an easy-listening experience, almost. It is much more a melancholy review of the whole album, but with an indefinable lightness, whistling a tune on the way."
|1. Sea Of Dreams||2. Freaky World||3. Off The Wire||4. Forever And A Day||5. Acts Of War||6. Radio Man||7. For The Turnstiles||8. Naked||9. Last Day Out||10. Monster||11. Oh, I||12. On The Moon||13. The Memory of Stones||14. With Open Arms|