Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Reviews:: Steven Bowers Circadian Anthem

For most musicians, the repeating cycle of inspiration is one that is hard to escape. New love, good days, better nights, heartbroken mornings; write your way through it. Everything starts and ends at the same place and sadly, once it’s written you have to sing about it night after night after night. Every time you step on stage, you get to remember the precious moments when you gave your heart away so willingly, but are also forced to relive the excruciating second when it was broken.

I’m not sure if that’s what Newfoundland transplant Steven Bowers meant when he called his new EP Circadian Anthem, but there are a few key differences between our natural sleep cycle that control our days and the ones that controls our heart. Our sleep patterns and daily routine persist without any triggers or clues and the human heart can’t seem to focus on anything but the little things that remind us all of the most significant moments. More importantly, when heartache sinks in sleep is the one relief we crave but can never get.

Bowers is an incredibly talented song writer, creating emotions and characters detailed as chapters in a book - on the atmospheric, piano Sleeping Dogs, Bowers takes the listener back to a small town and painful memories he can't discard - but it’s the arrangements he chooses that really set the tone. On the stellar Sewing Machines, he and Dale Murray harmonize over Brian Murray’s banjo, but he’s just as comfortable on the more muscular riffs of Circadian Anthem and The Hardest Thing.

But it’s the two closing tracks that really grab me on this effort. Comfortably Sweet relies on little more than an acoustic, Dale’s beautiful pedal work (and a gentle hint of mandolin) and a perfect vocal pairing with Christina Martin. It’s really the only “singer/songwriter” track on the EP and Bowers lets his words and their voices say all that needs to be said and the emotion filled track flows nicely into the full band closer, Your Life as a Piano.

With the help of Brian, Dale, Christina, Kelly Sloan and Fleur Mainville’s dramatic string arrangement, the gentle piano number gentle swells as the band adds layer after layer, letting the song grow in front of us and live freely. Steven sounds almost like an East Coast version of Will Johnson, and in a fitting conclusion, the layers are slowly removed and the song completes the cycle before fading to black.

MP3:: Steven Bowers - Comfortably Sweet (ft. Christina Martin)

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Posted at 8:11 AM by ack :: 1 comments

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At 12:32 PM, Blogger Chad did sayeth:

I remember Comfortably Sweet from my days at St. FX. He had a live version on his website that opened with a little prelude song that was really nice. I like what he's done with the male/female vocals but I think the lyrics have changed a little bit.


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