As a former member of the inimitable Kurt Vile‘s backing band, The Violators, hotshot guitarist Steve Gunn will be well accustomed with the “slacker” tag. However, with a whopping fourteen album releases – yes, that’s fourteen albums – in a mere nine years, I think it’s fair to say that, where this particular artist is concerned, this kind of labelling is somewhat wide of the mark!
Not that there’s any grand diversion from the lazy, hazy shimmery summertime melodies with which Gunn first made his name, admittedly, but then, when you can consistently make music which is essentially nectar for cleansing of the soul, why swap your comfortable hat for a beehive hairdo?
‘Ancient Jules‘, which introduces Eyes On The Line, is a sun-soaked six minute mid-July breeze – celestial sounding guitars and lazy vocals (in a good way) – which really sets the tone for the remainder of the album. Sometimes you can kind of see the invisible thread between Gunn’s music and Vile’s and, on other occasions, it is surprisingly possible to draw parallels with Paul Weller. Feeling stressed? Angry? Frustrated? Well pop on Steve Gunn’s new album and you’ll feel better in no time at all.
Often, especially on the likes of ‘Full Moon Tide‘ or ‘Nature Driver‘, Gunn employs an easy Americana sound reminiscent of The Minus 5, while ‘The Drop‘ and ‘Night Wander‘ feel like a carefree, summertime picnic with a bunch of your closest friends. Did I mention this album makes me think of the summer? I did? Well, do you mind if I mention it again? I think I need to, just in case you missed the point.
If there is any criticism to be made of Eyes On The Lines, it would merely be the lack of variety on offer. But then, if you’re already enjoying yourself on the beach, who on earth wants to go and play squash?
Steve Gunn’s ‘Eyes On The Lines’ is out now on Matador Records.