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Articles Home » 2008 Articles » Stevens, Steve - 2008 Memory Crash
Stevens, Steve - 2008 Memory Crash

ARTIST: Stevens, Steve
ALBUM: Memory Crash
LABEL: Magna Carta
SERIAL: MA-9095-2
YEAR: 2008


LINEUP: Steve Stevens - guitars, bass, keyboards, effects * Michael Parnin - drums * Brian Tichy - percussion, drums * Doug Pinnick - guest vocals, bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Heavy Horizon * 02 Hellcats Take The Highway * 03 Memory Crash * 04 Water On Ares * 05 Day Of The Eagle * 06 Small Arms Fire * 07 Cherry Vanilla * 08 Joshua Light Show * 09 Prime Mover * 10 Josephine



It's been an interesting joyride for one hard rock's best six-string gun-slingers in Steve Stevens. What hasn't the man done? I mean let's face it - Steve has got it all in spades.. the talent, the looks, the work ethic, the output and productivity.. it's all there. There's no need to talk about his past career with Billy Idol or Atomic Playboys or other musical liaisons since.. save that for another time. Of more interest within this review - is his solo career. It's been nine years since his last record, the Spanish flash of 'Flamenco A Go-Go'. Back in the late 90's, Steve took two years to produce this totally solo effort. Since then, he's been reasonably quiet but busy. After working with Billy Idol on his 2005 'Devils Playground' album, Stevens returns with an electric effort ' Memory Crash'. I thoroughly enjoyed 'Flamenco A Go-Go' and I was curious to see if any of those elements leaked through into the new one. Happily I can report 'yes' but only fleetingly so, as the album is a marriage of all the influences that have impacted on Steve's playing style over the years, including progressive rock, hard rock and yes - flamenco.

The Songs
'Heavy Horizon' is the intro track for the album. It features double tracked guitar parts and beyond its two minutes we drill directly into the energetic 'Hellcats Take The Highway'. It's a pure adrenalin junkie rush for guitar freaks that relish Steve's speed-racer style. The track takes on different soundscapes in which Steve is able to best express his various styles and textures. Stevens pulls out all the toys on the fuzz-bound title-track 'Memory Crash'. From space-age synth layers, whammy bar antics, and a plethora of effects coming out of left-field, Stevens takes control with some incredible soloing through the middle. 'Water On Ares' has much depth and atmosphere. You swim in the melody of this track, held together by different guitar lines. Toward the end there, Steve solos away in Neal Schon like fashion - another guitarist who is known for his melodic structures. 'Day Of The Eagle' is the cover of a Robin Trower track. You can sure hear the similarity to RT with flanger effects on full-alert! Doug Pinnick of Kings X sings the vocal line and provides cover on bass. There is a brief flamenco burst prelude on 'Small Arms Fire', but it subsides into a sonic six-string assault, taking no prisoners in the process. Steve brings out the toys on the solo, running his lead guitar through all sorts of weird effects. Cool! The groove cats will be up for 'Cherry Vanilla' - no two ways about it! This is sort of thing that fuses Living Color with Mr Big.. again Steven's guitar has that overblown Robin Trower lead guitar happening.. Meanwhile, 'Joshua Light Show' is a brief (less than two minute) psychedelic excursion which ties in nicely to 'Prime Mover', a track which proves to be a fascinating listen. A flamenco beginning makes way for a jangly but groovy rhythm with Steve's guitar sound akin to a guy like Tim Pierce. He is severely packing some heat with his soloing through this track. Though the acoustic closer 'Josephine' has a very prog oriented feel, not many are aware of Steven's love affair with early 70's prog a la Yes and ELP. The lush arrangement draws out some similarities to Steve Howe's unique guitar signature through the solo section.

In Summary
After a nine year break, it's good to Steve Stevens back in the limelight. I only wish he could up the productivity to a new album once every couple of years. Nine years is far too long. Certainly with 'Memory Crash', a talent this good is wasted if left to release albums once a decade. Guitar fans should need no invitation to track this down - every six string fan of guys like Jeff Beck, Robin Trower and Jimi Hendrix obviously - should be queuing up at Magna Carta's website. 'Memory Crash' is a pleasant surprise and is well deserving of a mention here at GDM.

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