Steve Abel – Sidewalk Doves

It has been a month of the big names in my tiny head – meaning I do realize Steve Abel isn’t all that and a bucket of fish and chips wrapped in a double downer, but when I was having my coming-of-age Abel’s depressing album that I’m too lazy to google the name of was the thing I listened to, alongside Dimmer and other things, played on a large pair of speakers and a Naim amplifier that (still) overheats from time to time. Ah, THE JOY OF YOUTHFUL MEMORY. I don’t think here is quite as good as the depressing Abel album – it had ‘Beautiful Fish’ on it. It’s a very pretty video, mind you. It’s a very mid-80s Lou Reed kind of song structure – “New York cityyyyyyyy” repeated over and over, some desperate attempt to conjure something – we are not sure what, exactly. Songs are like little memory-portals we vomit from out mouths and it’s palatable here, the memory-portal aspect of the chorus. Maybe I’m jaded or over songs about New York, because there are almost more songs about New York than there are about Cashel Street. Yet surely so many songs build on a storied history – Sinatra, Swift et al – they build on tradition – here Abel’s voice is very pretty and the instruments unobtrusive, but you feel “New York” could be replaced with anything. It’s a little prayer. Nothing wrong with that. Not all songs need to be ‘depressing’ or ‘deep’ or go beyond the surface, yet here we are left wondering what is Abel singing about – in his own words, a ‘super simple pop song’. Well, so is Hey There Delilah.  B


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