STEVE WINCHESTER – Magik (own label)

MagikYou may suspect from the title of Steve Winchester’s album, Magik, that it might be a touch fey. True, he strays that way a little but he comes from north Cornwall and it sort of goes with the territory. This is very much a one-man project with Steve singing and performing on guitars, percussion and programming so what we hear at the beginning of the title track are the top notes of a glockenspiel. It is rather pastoral, except when it isn’t, and I’m getting the feeling that what Steve is doing is on the up-curve of fashion.

The title track, which opens the album is, I suppose, a song of optimism and we sure need some of that now. ‘Walk In The Wild’, up next, begins and ends with birdsong and echoes the feeling of ‘Magik’ but I have to say now, and get it over with, that I honestly don’t care for ‘Wyrdian Woman’.

‘Fairground Ride’ is a rather sweet teenage love song with overdubbed guitars and in a strange way it takes me back to my youth although I never had experiences like this. In my day fairgrounds smelled of diesel and onions but we can dream. ‘White Witch’ has a ska beat with percussion to the fore – it’s a nice sound and we’re leaning towards magik again. If Steve were a teenager I’d get this but he’s a twenty year veteran. ‘Snapdragon’ is a nice guitar instrumental with a solid, driving beat and a hint of blues and the least pastoral track on the record.

‘Mary Contrary’ begins in a more down-to-earth fashion but turns into a song of unrequited love loosely inspired by the nursery rhyme and decorated with harmonica which I suspect is synthesised. I suspect that ‘Dancing In The Wind’ is a tale of lost love and missed opportunities that mirrors it. ‘Rocky Valley’ is a lovely piece of music – a very different sort of instrumental closing with the sound of flowing water – and finally we have ‘Where Are The Lights’, a song of protest about holiday homes in his native county. Lovely as the rest of the album is, this is the most important song here.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website:

‘Where Are The Lights’ – official video: