Steve Heron: 'Picturesque'



Track Review





Over-precise, nervy promotion, and the marble sheen of the modern market, could do well to follow the charming, everyman appeal of this sagacious Scot.



Availability: 'Picturesque' is available at:



His existence began more-or-less the same time as mine...


but Steve Heron trajectory is a lot more prosperous and fascinating than me. He is a veritable James Dean, to my Steve Guttenburg. It would be too easy to be jealous of the lucky son of a biatch (sic.); but a little lesson in context, may go a way to steering away from any mythology and giving the (slightly) more mature statement, a thorough appraisal. No iambic tetameter; no glib NME-esque brevity; we need to delve deeper. First off, it is worth noting that once upon a time, music used to be imbued and defined by a marked maturity and professionalism. Not to come off as a premature old man, but back- I would suspect- in the '60s and '70s, bands and acts did not have to be subjected to any analytic vetting. The market was a lot more freewheelin' and all-inclusive; there was little common cause or rash generalisations, when pertaining to age, ambition, spirit or talent. The demographic and creative shift, has moved perpendicular with an advanced technological age. If it weren't for wistful retro-active needs to relive a past age, or a fervant underground, then the narrow brackets and narrow-mindedness of the music industry, could well neuter anyone over 30. The greatest lyricists alive today are in their '70s; the finest and most pioneering bands are over 35, and the most noteworthy and revered examples of the breed are a lot more experienced than the likes of Ed Sheeran. Heron is a young man, with an older gent's quality and integrity. He is able to come across as cultured and well-informed without the need to pander to the stuffy core. I mention age not as a study of longitudinals within music, nor as a study of the correlation between mortality, success and lifespan either. I do so because it is a sad and sorry state of affairs that what is considered trendy or fresh is seen as equivocal to deserved spotlight and focus. It is a false equivolency and should cause much shamed head-hanging amongst a somewhat fickle and discriminate public and media. It is a pleasure to discover acts and musicians with genuine personality, an innate understanding of the needs of the music-buying public, whom have no credence or time for pointless memetic epidemeology or sarcastic addendum.


Which, rather aptly, leads to be to a curiously-named Mr. Heron. Like the powder down monophyletic birds; Steve has a similar cosmopolitan appeal, he has a carnivorous hunger, and yet displays beautiful and striking plumage- brilliant sounds and fascinating insights are to be found. Unfortunately, there is also a rather indigenous and narrow colonisation to his influence and legacy. That is going to change, very soon. Let me give you a little biography, to set the scene. His Twitter account, rather colourfully and playfully begins: "You can stuff it up your arse for nothing..."; showing that our man has a refreshing proletariat appeal. He is no tabloid editor, as his assorted social media pages are professional, detailed; giving a great depth and appreciation for his lot in life, as well as where he came from; and, where is going to. A lot of southern contemporaries- and being from Surrey, I am as white bread and reserved as they come- are rather stuffy and conservative. Steve is a guy, and intent on having a bloody good time, taking his music to the masses. Angus McGuire, Simon Gibb and Alan Lamb, are noble comrades, adding colour to Steve's songs. That said, Steve is a positive one-man-band, playing a range of instruments, including guitar and keyboard. He is, as attested to on Facebook, the creator of "Melodramtic Popular Song". The chap enjoys Jeff Buckley, The Smiths and The Boss. But don't go looking for scars and bruises under the clothing; Heron has a rollicking glee and reckless abandon to his sound that is quite infectious and joyful. I like him already as Buckley is my musical icon. Furthermore, Independant Music News praised him for "pushing the indie sound"; "Catchy as hell" is how The Buzz Stop described his sound, whilst "Edinburgh's prodigcal son" impressed Bainbridge Edinburgh. Having released a successful and much-celebrated album 'Honest One' in 2011, Heron has gigged with the likes of Razorlight, The Cribs and The Marvels. It is through a staunch and imperious heads-down work attitude that has earned the guys a loyal following, and to be whispered in the same breathe as some world-class acts, is no fluke. It is the combination of such concentrated and stunning influences; coupled with a savvy utilisation of the local scene as well as social media, that has lead to such fevered anticipation for the new track. It will be nursed to the public bosom, and create a frenzy of speculative legions to drop their Beady Eye and East India Youth C.D.'s, and listen hard!


First impressions can- in the wrong hands- say little, or can be seen as a second sight. For me, being used to writing; and having been a devotee of many genres for nearly 3 decades, feel that I had an intuitive and informative edge, when listening to 'Picturesque'. There is a rousing, closeness centrality, almost Motown-tinged blast to the intro's initial stage. The percussion slams and kicks with steel to-capped boots, as the swirling audio feast unfurls, capable to exhume the deceased in its potent crack. There are shades of The Zutons- a lot of their debut album contained a similar energy and sound. With the breathless brass proclamations, combined with 'Human Touch'-era Bruce Springsteen majesty and fun, it is an invigorating and mazzy dance which greets the eager listener. There is still a sense of the sound of funk, soul and blues in the style and sound. It is a wandering and friendly beast. The sway and dance continues with little sign of exhaustion or strain, as the vocal arrives to chaperon. There is a fleeting, yellow teeth grin to Kevin Rowland, in the rawer edge to the vocal. There is a similar undertone of merriment and revelry to the pronunciation and hew, yet plenty of sweetness, with a smidge of Robert Smith punk bite too. It is during the elongated, flighted vocal hold during "I don't want/Anything else", manages to transition between the '80s parable with punk and pop, and elicits a little OK Social Club-cum-Ryan Adams hybrid. Steve displays a strong and unquenchable power and pureness to his voice. It is unaffected by the modern age, and balances a soul-tinged heartache with an Alpha Male rock swagger; never pitting the two against one another, instead infusing them; with combustible consequence. There is an indie sensibility, with modern-age tableuxs about false start sexual endeavour, clashed personalities and an inherent passion to have you hooked by its catchyness. In spite of the fact: "Hearts are like jaws/Sometimes they get broken", there is little malice or ill intention. It is a matter-of-fact equation, and is the sort of lyric Adams might well pen. It is hard to shake off the perpetual motion of energy and excitement. There are relentless blasts of horns, subtle endeavouring guitar licks, hiding in the back, but holding the mood upright. The percussion is a combination of steady rolling and a forceful avalanche effect, which gives a solid and determined backbone to the track. The sound and innovations are definitely those of a broad-shouldered Scot. There is no androgynous, Lilly-sniffing, bootcut jean-wearing, hair-gel wasting feminine whimpering. Our man Steve has power in them there lungs, and could belt this song from the terraces, and be heard and respected. In spite of the fact that he a young man, with an educated, mature and developed mind, he has not lost the knack of being able to weave child-like glee into his notes and notation. "Your sorries/Get you caught" are the words of a man who has seen it before, and been there. With experienced conviction and perhaps a few scars for his troubles, the lines seem commonplace in his mindset. After the 3/4 mark, there is a musical interlude, complete with charged and focused drums and guitar, before we come back into the streets. There is some proffering from a wise heart, and a Newton's Cradle of Motown/soul, before we end, and are given chance to sum out.


I am a new listener to Steve Heron, immersed as I have been in the sounds of Manchester, as of late. He has an impressive and stunning back catalogue, and a wide arsenal of sounds and shifts to his style. He has a rock heart and hard fists when he needs them, but is a lovable, gentle giant one would suspect. Based on the stylish flair and smile of 'Picturesuqe', he is imploring you to love him and his music. The lyrics can be sharp, but always witty; capable as he is of being able to blend Morrissey's sharp barbs, and Marr's curious and intelligent sense of music and sound. If you are not familiar with Mr. Heron, wake up...



... and make yourself happy.









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