Review Summary: That silly Steve Burns! The guy from Blues Clues thinks he can make music? WHOA! He can? And it's phantastic? This I gotta see...
As most people know by now, Steve Burns was once upon a time the host of the hit children’s show “Blues Clues”. I’m also sure that plenty of people have heard stories about that “lunatic” Steve ever since he left Blues Clues. Hell…he’s had as much bad publicity surrounding his name (none of it true) as Pee Wee. Among these rumors include heroin addictions, jail, and even death, as influenced by his guest appearance on Law and Order.
So what’s the real story about Steve" Well after he left Blues Clues for various reasons, including the loss of his hair and his displeasure with the series, Steve attended a party. At this party he heard the Flaming Lips album, Soft Bulletin, and then felt so inspired he decided to work on some music, as he was already an avid guitarist. Steve then in 2003 decided to release his cd with the help of Steve Drozd, the drummer of The Flaming Lips, thus ending our quaint little story about Mr. Steve’s origins and path to making Songs For Dustmites.
First off, let me assure you that this album isn’t just some Flaming Lips interpretation. Though it often has influences, it is it’s own piece of work. It’s has way more emphasis on guitar, Steve’s voice shifts from surprisingly powerful to endearingly meek, and the most Flaming Lips-esque tracks have way more energy than any Flaming Lips song could ever imagine containing. Steve can really stand alone in this effort as well.
The first track on the album, Mighty Little Man, really slaps you in the face right out of the gates if you were expecting this kid’s show host to suck. It’s a realllly good track. It starts off with a little bit of effects then kicks into a sonic boom riff and some powerful drumming, backed by some uplifting sound effects. Steve sort of whispers out the beginning verses but then really booms with passion during the chorus. It even ends with a little harmonica bit. This song is truly an anthem for the little guys.
The listener will very quickly figure out that Steve really knows how to make use of those synth effects and great electronics. What I Do On Saturday is another brilliant track. It’s got a grooving bass line, jangly guitar, and a very spacey feel to all the effects surrounding Steve’s lyrics that are ever so passionately squeaked out like a child. Prepare to be blown away by the sweeping chorus of Troposphere and the barrage of synthesized effects that come with it. When I Fall Down has some weird electronic sounds and a very eerie feel to it as Steve mumbles out strange lyrics. When I Fall Down starts out quietly, riding on it’s strong beat, and gently guitar picking but ultimately blasts you with some scratchy, overly distorted effects.
Maintain brings back that blasting bass tone first heard from Mighty Little Man but carries on with a much more laidback tone even though Steve’s voice is certainly more powerful than usual on this track. Though >1 is a pretty uninteresting track the instruments listed will certainly amuse you. Steve used, “Guitars, an empty ice cream container, and a thinking chair.” If you ever visited Steve’s website, you would quickly understand how weird a guy is. Beware those robots he keeps telling me…
Certainly some of the most satisfying tracks are the ones were Steve doesn’t have to hide behind his mask of sound effects and just relies on his own power. He certainly has the ability to dig deep into his heart when he has to. The Reason is a beautiful and simple track only featuring Steve on guitar, some bongo sounding drums, and him delivering his most sincere vocal performance of the album. A Song For Dustmites is very similar and starts out with some great piano, though it does end with a mayhem of effects, but the build up is utterly perfect. Henry Krinkle’s Lament has layers of instruments but is mostly dominating by the simple little flute bits that give it a smooth jazz feel.
Somehow Steve Burns managed to make the leap from kids show host to rock star and strangely succeeded in the most grand of fashions. This is good music. There’s no other way to put it. Granted, I’m sure Drozd’s appearance had a significant effect on the album, but it often sounds so different from Lips, one can only help but realize that it’s Steve’s contributions that give this album it’s voice, soul, and face. Steve really moves the mountains for this album and transformed himself into a Mighty Little Man.
PS: Beware those damn robots that say “bee boop”…but the ones that say “boo beep” are okay…