(10 October 2003) Steve Howe’s latest album Elements (Inside Out (USA) IOMA 2066-2,
2003) is a group affair--under the moniker Remedy-- incorporating rock, blues, jazz and country as only Steve Howe can
do. Featured on the CD are Virgil Howe (Keyboards and harmony vocals), Gilad Atzmon
(sax, clarinet and flute), Derrick Taylor (bass) and Dylan Howe (drums).
This CD is absolutely stunning and this is no small feat considering how many different
styles of music this CD offers and Steve and his band pull it off beautifully. It opens
with "Across the Cobblestone" a rocking number featuring Steve on lead vocals. Excellent
synth work from Virgil as well as outstanding drum work from Dylan Howe set the pace for
"Bee Sting" is an instrumental featuring Steve's blistering lead guitar work throughout
and Dylan laying down some very impressive drum tracks. This track sees Steve revisiting
his straight forward rock style that hasn’t been heard since his Turbulence album
and is a welcome return to form.
"Westwinds" is a breezy jazz number scored by Andrew Jackman from Steve's original
arrangement. Reminiscent of the 60's spy film soundtracks this track is a real departure
from Steve and he pulls it off brilliantly-a stand out track not to be missed. "Where
I Belong" finds Steve back in familiar territory with his classic finger pickin style
accompanying himself with a variety of electric and acoustic guitars. Steve vocals add
a nice touch to this track and fit right in with this brisk tune. Listen to the last
minute for some extraordinary soloing.
"Whiskey Hill" a short bluesy straightforward number features fine lead distorted
electric guitar work while "The Chariot of Gold" features a brass section and is similar
in style to "Bee Sting" also being a straight forward rock piece with a brass section
background that fits in perfectly. Gilad Atzmon shines on lead saxophone.
"Tremolando" - well, the title speaks for itself. It's just Steve and features
brilliant tremolo guitar work as well as a gorgeous melody. "Pacific Haze" finds the
band back in the blues/jazz territory again. Steve's clean guitar works perfectly
on this track. Andrew Jackman’s brilliant brass section arrangement suits the mood
of this piece perfectly as does Dylan's stellar drumming. Lead sax and guitar bring
the song to a swirling end.
"Load off My Mind" finds Steve handling lead vocals again. A brisk track with some
excellent brush work from Dylan. Virgil really shines on this track with a stunning short
synth solo. "Hecla Lava," a solo guitar piece finds Steve back into progressive territory
combining echo guitar and synth guitar multilayered for a real psychedelic sound that
is very reminiscent of his classic guitar work with Yes.
"Smoke Silver," is a highlight from the CD as it features some very impressive guitar work
from Steve. This piece starts off in Rock territory and moves into a jazz/progressive feel
by the end of the song. "Inside Out Muse," a bluesy track with clean lead guitar, is
a perfect vehicle for Steve to shine and he takes full advantage of that. Gilad is
featured prominently on clarinet as well.
"Rising Sun" the most driving rock number on the CD finds Steve exploding on lead
guitar accompanied perfectly by the outstanding brass section. Dylan driving the piece
home with his pounding drums. A lead sax solo at the end brings this rocker to a powerful
end. "Sand Devil" a solo guitar piece finds Steve on Synth guitar again starting with a
church organ effect and working his way through various types of synth guitar sounds.
"The Longing" starts with some very powerful synth from Virgil with a tribal backbeat
from Dylan. Synth guitar is also featured prominently making this a most unusual but
excellent piece of music. "A Drop in the Ocean" brings the CD to a tranquil end with a
gorgeous melody. The guitar work is haunting and the sheer beauty of this track make for
an excellent end to a stunning album. Elements cosmic landscape artwork created by Roger
Dean make for a stunning cover.
Overall this album is the best work from Steve since his 1979 The Steve Howe Album.
This is the album his fans have been waiting for. Incorporating all different styles of music
this is a must for any fan of great music and outstanding musicianship.--Scott Bassin
Read further album reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com
here. Recommended to Yes enthusiasts as well as fans of Steve Howe's solo work, Elements is by all counts a must listen!