Delicate Steve: Till I Burn Up (ANTI-) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, October 18th, 2019  

Delicate Steve

Till I Burn Up


Mar 12, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

In an era of laptop DJs and SoundCloud rappers, how on earth can a guitar still sound cool? Well, if you're asking yourself that question, you've obviously never heard the singing axe of Steve Marion. Under the moniker Delicate Steve, he's been on records by Paul Simon and Kanye West, written three albums of dancing colors, and invites gig-goers to impromptu hootenannies at his shows. (Could you ever cut a jig to Joe Satriani? NOPE.) Where the great guitarists of old often stuck to their guns, Marion continues to morph with the sound.

And so with fourth record Till I Burn Up, the scene shifts again. 2017's This Is Steve played out like a panoramic cartoon with a full cast of characters, with sparkling arrangements and hokey ZZ Top-esque antics. Here, the interplay between pulsing synths and the neon guitar often mirrors a primetime showdown between rival sports teams, with a courtside camera zoomed in on the action. You can hear swords clashing on "Rat in the House" as melodies jockey for bombast; the tightwire-tense "Freedom" ends with a helicopter hovering overhead and a literal explosion. "Rubberneck" even almost veers into industrial territory, with dire synths that evoke glaring red alarms.

Of course, Marion remains as prismatic as ever. "Ghost" presents a genuine fount of tenderness, like a memory of innocent youth; the cavernous "We Ride on Black Wings" might intimidate at first, but a great Phil Collins-like catharsis awaits at the end of the tunnel. And even though Delicate Steve certainly hasn't ossified yet into an untouchable guitar god, the glorious way that our hero sails out of Till I Burn Up in "Dream" feels justifiably sublime.

No matter where Marion takes us, though, his vibrant landscapes are still a joy to explore. And that's why, even in 2019, a guitarist can still command our attention-by thinking more about moods than chords, Delicate Steve can reflect and illuminate these modern times like no one else. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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March 12th 2019

Love it! It reminds me of the Western Wall by purple floyed :)