Island Of The Imbeciles
April 1st 2016
Steve Thorne’s 5th solo album ‘Island of The Imbeciles’ is rumoured to be his last solo project. Hopefully this is not true as he continues to write tight, prescient songs with a great ear and eye for the moment. There is still a timeless element to the music but the timeliness of the subject matter places it very much in the now.
Who has he got guesting on this one? none other than Tony Levin, Nick D’Virgilo and James McLaren, with spots from his old chums in Jadis and even Robin ‘Cosmograf’ Armstrong but, according to his interview recently in Prog mag, instrument-wise, he pretty much plays the majority of the stuff on the Album himself.
I often talk about the craft of writing music and songs and Steve has brilliantly crafted the whole album, 50 minutes of music that flies past in way too quick a time for my liking. I wanted more much more music, in a really good way. All the songs are very easy on the ear, full of melody, variation and different themes.
The musical ability shines through but does not swamp the album. Guitar and keyboard breaks blend section to section, fitting beautifully into the song. A fine example is Don’t Fear Tomorrow, a message to the anxious and the worriers of this world, or someone carving out their life after tragedy.
The title track, Island of Imbeciles, is an overtly vicious attack on corruption and current state of politics, it is keyboard driven and lyrically potent, delivering a message of cynicism and disgust.
My personal favourite, They are Flesh, is a direct attack on the privileged class and their ‘so called right’ to such privilege. It’s pretty much an acoustic number in an almost old-school ‘protest folk style’ but with much more sophistication.
The 10 tracks on this album cover such a wide range of topics, from loss of love (and the terror to commit to someone again) to big political stuff about the planets resources and man’s general inhumanity to man.
He draws from all sorts of areas musically but it is still a coherent album that connects from beginning to end.
I look forward to the ‘Salamander Project’ which appears to be his new project with the likes of John Beck, Steve can draw talent to his projects but that embellishes what he does and it’s not a place he hides behind.
As ever I will make recommendations for those who know nothing of his music or his pedigree.
I hear a direct connection with the Likes of Steven Wilson (particularly Blackfield), Talk Talk (Spirit of Eden), Divine Comedy, Big Big Train and oldsters like Pink Floyd. If you are a fan of the song and lyrically interesting melodic music go for it.
In The Frame
Colours Of Torment
Don't Fear Tomorrow
Island Of The Imbeciles
Dear Mother Earth
Let Me Down
They Are Flesh
Please download this little freebie "My Death". The track is Steve's tribute to one of his main inspirers David Bowie.
This track was not written by Bowie however, but by Jaques Brel, the controversial french musician who also wrote "Next" which was covered brilliantly by Alex Harvey, "Seasons In The Sun" by a few different artists and, the haunting "Amsterdam" also covered by Mr Bowie on the album Pin Ups.
Bowie played "My Death" at the end of his very last Ziggy Stardust gig at the Hammersmith Odeon back in the the 70s. Steve's always fancied a crack at recording it and, did so two years back for an exercise recording on a new recording system for fun.
It's been laying dormant on a drive there since then. It seemed an appropriate time to pull it out.
The track has been mixed to blend with "Island Of The Imbeciles" so people can add it to the playlist on their iPods etc. Enjoy!
Steve plays all instruments and mixed it at home. Rob Aubrey very kindly mastered it for free during a rare un-busy moment one afternoon, bless 'im.