This Is Steve is the third studio LP by songwriter and guitar whiz Steve Marion under his performance alias Delicate Steve. It follows a nearly five-year gap between new material, during which Marion played on several recordings by other artists, including Yeasayer, Sondre Lerche, and Lewis Del Mar. He also released a live album from a tour in support of Tame Impala, and, most notably, provided slide guitar for Paul Simon's critically acclaimed Stranger to Stranger LP. Known to fans and many colleagues for experimenting with tones as well as for his unusually whimsical approach, Marion outdoes himself on This Is Steve, a collection of Seussian guitar pop instrumentals. There's actually a tune called "Cartoon Rock" here. Just a few seconds over two minutes in length, it's a rush of galloping distortion that evokes drag racing or a police chase as much as cartoons. (In an interview with NPR, Marion said it imagines cartoon music "if ZZ Top were the genre's founding fathers.") That track is followed by "Nightlife," a song loaded with video game-type timbres of the '80s and a strutting reggae groove. Perhaps the most engaging thing about the album, even more than dazzling tones and free-spirited showmanship, is that he creates so many singable earworms, each provided by the guitar. This is especially true of the album's lead single, "Winners," and the moodier "Together." Given all of its infectiousness, it's kind of obnoxious to learn that he wrote and recorded the album in a span of just 11 consecutive days.
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AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson