Thorne, Steve - Levelled-Emotional Creatures: Part 3,
Back in 2005 I was sent the debut album by an artist I had never heard of, Steve Thorne, ‘Emotional Creatures: Part One”. I may not have heard of him, but he had the whole of Jadis playing on it, plus the likes of Paul Cook, Tony Levin, Geoff Downes and Nick D’Virgilio! I was also so impressed with the artwork (by Danny Flynn), which was inspired by “Squonk”, that I not only bought a giclée print of the album art but also bought another print at the same time and they are both still framed and on my walls at home. That album was released on IQ’s GEP label, but I lost touch after that as I moved to the other side of the world and asked that no-one ever send me any music to review ever again. Well, it worked for a while.
Consequently, I have only heard one of Steve’s other albums, 2016’s ‘Island of the Imbeciles’ which was also released on White Knight, and it is only now some four years later that he is back with the next. On this album he has totally changed his line-up and here he has been joined only by drummer Kyle Fenton (Cosmograf) and local guitarist Geoff Lea with Steve playing everything else himself as well as providing vocals. The concept behind this album is probably best expressed by reading the words of Steve himself, “If the lyrical subject matter of this album upsets, triggers, threatens or offends you, I'm afraid you, as once did I, have a common and widespread problem known as “cognitive dissonance” and are, unknowingly a member, as I was of the largest religious belief cult ever devised by human beings on earth known as “Scientism” or, more accurately, “Heliocentrism”.” We even get to hear Patrick McGoohan saying his most famous line from ‘The Prisoner’, “I am not a number! I am a free man!” which is repeated in case you missed it first time.
Steve has never been afraid to say what he thinks, often providing social comment wrapped up in strong crossover progressive rock which takes his singer-songwriter style as a base and then moves on from that. Simple musical ideas often have complex arrangements placed over the top, all to provide the platform for Steve to clearly annunciate his ideas in a melodic and well thought out manner. There are times, such as on “Word Salad Surgery” where the music takes flight with keyboards combining with superb lead guitar and dynamic drums, and others where it is far more laid back and dependent on acoustic guitar. He is a strong wordsmith, a great singer, with an innate understanding of string melodies and arrangements which makes this yet another incredibly interesting album.