From the moment I viewed the album cover of “Kill Me Nice”, I knew we had winner from Steven Blane, a jazz performer who writes, sings and plays the ukulele, piano as well as the guitar. I was drawn immediately into the warmth of his unique, tender and catchy style and incredible lyrical poetry. The excellent band gives sterling support and the beguiling light pop-jazz rhythms are just magical. I really can’t stop playing it. I listen in the lounge, in my studio and it’s also very relaxing on my car journeys. Every track is a gem, my favorites of the moment being “Coffee Understands”, “Too Beautiful For Words”, “You Once Killed A Guy” and “Spark”.
Apart from being able to turn up the intensity and energy when he wants, Steven Blane is a poet masquerading as a terrific songwriter and his slower songs perfectly celebrate his warmly sophisticated vocals, which is why I adore the above-mentioned songs. Steven never misses a beat. His timing is on key. The melodies ooze from his musical pores. He’s ability to ease up and down on notes is absolutely effortless, while the words emerge from his lips like a vintage rhyme. He speaks from the heart, and sets it to music.
Steven Blane’s, is the kind of music that makes one say “ooh,” as the blood pressure comes down, the shoulders relax, and the stress melts away with each note. Also worth a mention is the absurdly high quality of the recording itself. Every nuance of sound is captured here with incredible clarity, detail and warmth. Taken as a whole, the mood that is set, the instrumentation, the production and the topics of the songs add up to one awesome album.
I will be honest; my expectations were extremely high considering that Steven Blane is an experienced and world-weary musician. Furthermore he finds himself in a genre which allows many things but does not accept technical insufficiency. However, the music is nothing short of excellent with Steven proving to be a spotless tune-oriented craftsman. “Kill Me Nice” is romantic, nostalgic, lush, and a really good time musically.
Overall, this album has much to offer the listener who is looking for a style of music that conjures settings that are graphically perceivable, where the lure of the storytelling is a powerful magnet to many of us. And one where the artist is able to describe life’s discontent, its pleasures and the beauty of what is all around him. This is an album that is richly textured, mature, and shows Steven Blane at the top of his game. Crafty lyrics and top rate musicianship is trumped by one fine voice!