Steve Thorne

Emotional Creatures: Part One

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In a nutshell, Steve Thorne's debut album is a very satisfying platter of crafty neo-prog featuring a star-studded cast. Members of IQ (Martin Orford, Paul Cook, John Jowitt), Jadis (Gary Chandler), Spock's Beard (Nick D'Virgilio), King Crimson (Tony Levin), and Asia (Geoff Downes) pitch in to give to Thorne's music the scope it deserves. Not that the singer/multi-instrumentalist is not capable of handling most everything on his own -- he does so successfully in "Julia" (minus the drums). Thorne's songs owe a lot to English neo-prog, with an extra folk touch thrown in (taken from John Martyn, perhaps). Melodies are quick to grab and messages rather simple, but all elements come together nicely to form addictive, efficient songs. His voice is suitably emotional and pleasing, but it would not hold up if it weren't for the rich arrangements -- rich but not overcrowded, and including an occasional sample or loop among the regular prog rock instrumentation. "God Bless America," the first song of the set following the instrumental prelude "Here They Come!," is a satirical post-Iraq song reminiscent lyrically of some parts of IQ's 2004 epic "Harvest of Souls." "Well Outta That" and "Gone" are strong rockers (the latter featuring a nice backward guitar solo by Chandler), while "Julia" and "Tumbleweeds" explore the soft side of neo-prog with good taste. An unsuspected highlight is found in the instrumental "Every Second Counts," propelled by Levin's inimitable stick work. Emotional Creatures: Part One reveals a potent songsmith in Thorne and stands as one of Giant Electric Pea's very best non-IQ releases. Tony Lythgoe's cover artwork is just icing on the cake.

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