Steve Bell - Romantics And Mystics

Tuesday 1st December 1998
Steve Bell - Romantics And Mystics
Steve Bell - Romantics And Mystics

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
LABEL: Signpost

Reviewed by Tom Lennie

This is Steve's fifth solo project, recorded in 1997 on his own Signpost label. It won the Gospel Album Of The Year award in his homeland, Canada, and its release has made him more noticed south of the border and also, thankfully, in Britain. The album consists in the main of gentle-sounding ballads and if that sounds boring - well, it isn't. The result is a moving experience that is affecting; it somehow changes you - at least it does me. Every track is strong in its own right and there's a fair variety. The theme is relationships: male/female (hence 'Romantics') and a deeper union with God (thus 'Mystics'). This latter idea is classically expressed in "Dark Night Of The Soul", adapted from the epic poem by 16th century Spanish monk St John Of The Cross. This is a deeply intimate song of abandonment to God and Steve retains the rich poetic element of the original, while adding to it musically. There are two instrumentals, with Steve showing typical versatility (on strings, percussion and piano); one is lighthearted and affectionate, the other is understandably moody - being inspired by a visit to Auschwitz. But it's his sinuous and heartfelt vocals and depth of lyrics which captivate one's attention. "Let's Do It Again" is a stunningly beautiful love song, as is the somehow haunting "Alone Tonight". "Lament For A Nation" is a deep cry for his own country -"Where have the nightwatchmen been?" - a longing equally applicable to our own nation. The songs are perhaps not 'catchy' enough for Christian radio, but this is an album I don't think you'll want to miss. Certainly worth checking out.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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