In a genre dominated by innovation, inventiveness and unconventional setups, it’s curious that there aren’t many other solo artists doing quite what Steve Strong has been perfecting over the years: turning out masterfully layered guitar loops accompanied by the illest drum chops to match.
Watching his music develop is half the magic, much like Adam Betts or Mylets, although he still sounds like a full-fledged band at the peak of his buildups. Steve doesn’t sound like a solo artist… His music is like two sides of himself playing with eachother; like a one-man-duo. One part beautifully lush melodies, one part badass grooves.
This time around I believe Turbo Island has finally captured that feeling and the essence of what Steve Strong is all about. Although it’s still not the same as seeing him in the flesh, like most solo artists, at its core this album is more faithful to his live play-style than previous releases (his debut showed potential but feels more like a collage of ideas and his last EP was a rad experiment but never took shape onstage). There aren’t too many overdubs and the compositions are perfectly concise, straightforward and with a variety of moods all fitting together nicely as a whole. Swirving between trip-hop, dance rock, shoegaze and plenty of nods to mathy music, Steve famously simplifies where others might have felt the urge to add complexity, steering away from most math rock trends while still throwing in plenty of experimentation.
There’s a maturity to this release that further establishes Steve as a prominent figure in the scene, accentuating his unwavering dedication to the craft (he’s already gained a reputable following in the UK and some parts of Europe through extensive touring) and we are proud to be presenting it on a global platform here, a day early.
This is not an album just for fans of math rock. It’s for fans of sweet, tasteful music.
Turbo Island is out on January 17 aka tomorrow. But don’t let that sway you; go and pre-order the album now via the Steve Strong Bandcamp page. And keep on punching life above the belt.