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Review: 'Ravensfield, Steve'
'Into the Next Life'   

-  Genre: 'Rock' -  Release Date: '1st December 2017'

Our Rating:

I know little about Steve Ravensfield, and a lot less about him than his brother’s record collection, which contains all the staples of 70s classic rock and prog. It was such formative experiences which set him down the path of discovery which featured future influences numbering Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, Joe Bonamassa, and Norah Jones. Wait, really? Listening to ‘Into the Next Life’, yes, the biographical details seem credible.

It’s all going on in the album’s first cut, with bluesy Dylan-influenced harmonica and soul/gospel inspired backing vocals adding layers of drama to the already layered-up production and anthemic chorus. As Calvin Harris – who I’m absolutely not a fan of – sang, it was acceptable in the 80s. Ravensfield pulls a lot of retro vibes across the album’s tracks: ‘Dynamite and Answerphones’ (who even uses the term ‘answerphone’ these days?) melds the guitar from George Michael’s ‘Faith’ with the ‘woo woo’ backing from ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ while coming on like Chris Rea on Prozac. The title track gets gritty and urgent, landing somewhere between Dire Straits and 80s Leonard Cohen, as Ravensfield wheezes darkly apocalyptic images over a driving riff amidst glossy backing vocals. With straining feedback and a thumping beat, it’s really not bad and the best track on the album by a mile.

‘I’m Gonna Love You’ is a smoochy country effort, heavily styled on Springsteen at his worst, and gushing with gratitude for life and his love. I envisage late-middle-aged couples in faded denim slow-dancing to this song, and I want the puke. Much as I loathe such slushy sentimentality, I loathe the kind of people who give it credence. And there’s a lot of it on here: the mid-tempo ploddage dominates and sag world-weary lyrics like ‘yesterday is gone’ keep the cliché quota higher than should be acceptable.

‘Into the Next Life’ is ok. It’s not my bag, and nor is it meant to be. I’m the wrong demographic and possess the wrong sensibility. Objectively, it’s so-so, both musically and in terms of performance, but it’s neatly produced and bland enough to have a fairy wide appeal.

  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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Ravensfield, Steve - Into the Next Life