Steve Gunne: The Unseen in Between review – Psychedelic folk rock with a hint of Tom Verlaine

Thu, Jan 17, 2019, 05:00


The Unseen in Between

Steve Gunn


Singer / Songwriter

The ambiguity inherent in the title of this album, The Unseen in Between, runs through the fourth solo collection by Steve Gunn, the Brooklyn-based guitarist-songwriter possibly best known for his association with the American cult figure Kurt Vile (The War on Drugs etc).

The death of Steve Gunn’s father clearly casts a shadow over the recording, with at least one track dedicated to him, the memory parade of the acoustically set Stonehurst Cowboy, though the impressionistic lyrics in all nine tracks share a questioning fragility. There is a 1960s psychedelic folk-rock feel to the tunes, layered acoustic guitars underpinning soaring electric guitars and vocals deep in the mix – his rather anonymous voice gains from Meg Baird’s backing vocals.

The influence of Tom Verlaine’s Television is also apparent to these ears. This is particularly true of the longest track, New Familiar (almost six minutes), Lightning Field, Vagabond and the opening New Moon.

The producer James Elkington, whose own folk-based work is worthy of investigation, blends Gunn’s folk and electric impulses well into an interesting if slow-building melange that runs out of steam towards the end. The album requires a little time and effort by the listener, certainly, but offers clear rewards.