Bewildering and uplifting, Delicate Steve makes a beautifully realized debut on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label with Wondervisions. The brainchild of songwriter Steve Marion, the album delicately combines the textural pop of Animal Collective with the experimental, African-influenced rhythms of the Dirty Projectors, creating a sound that manages to be both sonically dense and breezy. This combination makes for an album that is able to always be interesting and rewarding without being difficult, focusing more on the listening experience than on academic barriers to entry, allowing listeners to just enjoy what it has to offer without making them feel like they need to worry about complex mathematical schemes and musical theory. “Sugar Splash” exists in this space, casually drifting through movement after movement of airy guitar and thumping percussion that allows the song to feel carefree without ever losing its momentum. Adding to the textural feel of the album is a guest appearance from guitarist Dustin Wong (formerly of Ponytail), who adds his distinctive, delay-heavy sound to the closing track “Flyin’ High.” The combination of Wong’s meticulous style and Marion’s loose riffing works brilliantly, giving Wong the opportunity to lay down some solid ground for Marion to wander over. As a debut, Wondervisions makes for a great mission statement from Delicate Steve, showcasing the songwriters' ability to craft engaging and exploratory instrumentals while still being accessible and fun.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney