Seasick Steve – Sonic Soul Surfer

Sonic Soul SurferSonic Soul Surfer is Seasick Steve's 7th album in 11 years. That seems a pretty average turnaround, but when you take the time to remember that the Californian songwriter is now well into his 70s, it becomes quite a remarkable feet... Especially for a man that released his solo debut at the age of 60.

This latest offering sees Seasick Steve treading familiar ground, with many of the tracks - most notably opener "Roy's Gang", single "Summertime Boy" and "Barracuda '68" - omitting blues-y Americana at its finest. It's what we've come to expect from the artist; a slide guitar and metronome drums accompany Steve's rich drawl. "Sonic Soul Boogie" is a track that quite literally evolves. Beginning with just heavily filtered guitar and quiet percussion, it grows and grows during its 5-plus minutes to crescendo towards Seasick shouting above the noise created by his band. It's a sure-fire live favourite in the making.

Despite similarities with past material, Sonic Soul Surfer is perhaps the most conventional Seasick Steve record to date. The production is slick and that polished sound does kill some of the raw musicianship that people expect when listening to one of his records. The tracks that benefit from this technique are those similar to "Sonic Soul Boogie", with a big sound behind them. Missing out because of this is closer "Heart Full Of Scars", a down-tempo, quiet track that despite being wonderfully written and heartfelt, loses some of the feeling behind it due to the tidy production employed. The blues-y, rock'n'roll tracks however do benefit tremendously, so more good is done than harm by the slick studio work.

Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Seemingly not, and there isn't really any reason to either. It's almost impossible to dislike Seasick Steve, and Sonic Soul Surfer is only going to extend his appeal. Having already sold out 10/13 shows on his upcoming UK tour, his popularity is at its highest ever, and this record is almost certainly going to join previous releases I Started Out With Nothin' And I Still Got Most Of It Left, Man From Another Time and You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks in the UK Top 10. Remarkable performances from a man deemed "too untidy" to enter the BRIT Awards evening in 2009 (he had to send for confirmation before the doorman let him in - he was nominated for International Male Solo Artist in both 2009 and 2010), the loveable rogue that captured the hearts of music fans worldwide. Seasick Steve's 7th album is a wonderful soundtrack to warm summer evenings, and will be an even more impressive spectacle when performed live.

Release: 23rd March 2015, Caroline


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *