Unlike his last two albums, where Steve became a Project, this release looks back in some ways to an earlier time, more specifically to 2016’s ‘Progress’. Back then he provided everything himself apart from the appearance of Jimmy Keegan on one track, and listening to the drum sounds on this album I thought that the Spock’s Beard sticksman was again involved, but Steve ensures me all the drum sounds are indeed provided by himself. Steve describes it as his pandemic album, “Written and recorded while staying safe at home, it is a stylistic departure from much of my earlier work. Introspection and quiet reflection were the motivating factors in this very personal expression.” This is particularly true on the likes of “Colors Of You”, where Steve picks a delicate acoustic guitar, provides some string backdrops with no percussion, and delivers some wonderful harmonies. Each time I play it, this song makes me think of the late Sixties, as does the next one, “Instrumental”. This is funky, has rich Hammond sounds, fuzzed bass, strummed acoustic plus some great woodwind. Steve has obviously been experimenting a lot with his synths, and it shows.

This is much more of a pop rock album than a progressive one, but who cares? I certainly don’t, as this is something I have enjoyed playing repeatedly over the last few weeks. It makes perfect sense to me for Nick Katona to release this on PeacockSunrise as this is quite removed from the material on Melodic Revolution but has much to offer alongside the likes of other artists on this label such as Elfin Bow, Allison VonBuelow and Martin Springett. Bonino has a knack for writing perfect pop songs that contain depth and musicality, and he even finds room on this album for his own personal tribute to the original Superman, George Reeves. “We Are Gonna Be All Right” is the most upbeat song I have heard about COVID 19, this time with some wonderful clarinet, and demands the listener sings along to the chorus as it is so damn catchy! “The world has changed overnight, Angels fly into the light, If we embrace the heroes’ fight, We are gonna be all right”.

Anyone who has enjoyed any of Steve’s other albums, or just wants to hear a songwriter and performer who really knows his craft needs to seek this out when it is released in September.

kev rowland | 4/5