It is no easy task to create an uplifting feel good album in such dismal times, and it’s even harder to create an uplifting album with no vocals, but Delicate Steve has managed it. The guitar virtuoso takes the listener on a journey through the cosmos in just over 37 minutes.
The production is warm and there are sections of Postive Force that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Animal Collective or Yeasayer album. You can tell that a lot of thought has gone into this album. While guitars take centre stage on most songs, it is important not to get caught up solely on the six-string work as all of the instruments hold their own. The percussion is outstanding and melds seamlessly with the bass to create the all important upbeat essence that encapsulates the whole album. Even as the guitar work gets towards its darkest in Afria Talks To You, the pounding handclaps keeps the positive vibe evident throughout.
While the arrangements create some stunning moments there are also times that are reminiscent of old polyphonic ringtones. It seems Delicate Steve has worked hard to create an album in which the guitar acts as the vocals but some of the more repetitive riffs leave you wanting some lyrical content to enhance the otherwise simple melody. These moments are few and far between, however, and most of the arrangements do act to enhance the overall flow and cheerfulness of the album.
Delicate Steve has delivered exactly what it says on the tin here. Positive Force is a glowing example of modern contemporary composition and if this multi-instrumentalist set out to make people happy, he has certainly done it.