Steven Quiry’s new release Pretend is fantastic. I come to this conclusion through a long journey of criticism. At first, I see the name. Steven Quiry? What kind of rock star name is that? It’s no David Grey, Gordon Lightfoot, Warren Haynes, Bob Dylan, or Tom Waits. It doesn’t have that smooth panache sound. Steven Quiry. In my querulous mood, I set out to find just what was wrong with this EP. There is something queer going on. First off, he asks you to donate. Steven Quiry tells you that he is, “stuck within this human drama trying to navigate the best way I know how”, and that he would like you to donate. It’s like voting with dollars. Quickly, I gave him a buck a song.
The first track Spin starts off strong. Triumphant guitar and keys flesh out beautiful lyrics. The lyrics carry the strength of the entire EP and in this opener choice, Steven talks about that wonderful spinning sensation when your life is so filled with love it feels like a set of swings that keep carrying you into the next day. Those great times when life seems like a skip in the park and a song in your heart are personified with Spin.
You get a sense of Steven’s personal philosophies with his lyrics. His EP Pretend opens with Spin and whirls you around into Sit and Be Still, a reflection of Steven’s very Buddhist like meditative side. He is a practitioner of deep, off-the-grid meditation and this song is his gentle reminder to us all that silence is good for the soul. The dripping rhythm that lingers and drops at the perfect time is accompanied by honey sweet backup vocalist Lea Holz. Now there is a name with panache, a real, rocker-easy- to-accept-name. The combination of these two musicians singing the word, “rise!” gives me goose bumps, not the very first time, but everytime I listen to it.
Now, I’m feeling good. I’ve been called precious, I have been motivated. I’m pretty much ready to conquer the world because I’m all there is. I have an idea of Steven’s viewpoint and I too want to move forward. In Pretend, the title track, I feel like I entered a smoky backroom. I feel like I’m watching some sultry sex scene, but it’s starring my best friend’s husband and some other girl. This is the tension song of the album.
Once that tension is hit, Steven stumbles out into his resolve. It’s the rocky theme song. I’m not playin for long. All the while a humble song, he belts out his look-out-world-I’m-coming anthem. While he kept the tension song Pretend to a quick 3 and a half minutes, stumbling is the longest song on the EP. At almost 5 and a half minutes, most of the songs on the EP are about five minutes on average and are very studio polished pop tunes.
Upon the resolve, You and I, I am reminded of Jason Mraz’s pop tune You and I. But this You and I is a track to definitely differentiate and cement Steven Quiry the artist. Ouch. That name still won’t slide off my tongue. Well, the Q has tons of personality. Maybe if he just called himself Q or something. But really, he is Steven. His music has brought me around to another good day. I can’t act like his name isn’t what it is. Oh I’m quarreling in my head about this. What is the quintessential point of Steven’s music? That should matter more than his quirky last name. Oh well.