Steve Howe's Love Is: masterly communication with the universe

Steve Howe's first album in nine years Love Is shimmers and glows

Steve Howe
(Image: © BMG)

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Given that the outside world appears to be burning to the ground, there’s sharp relief to be found in the appeasing tones of Steve Howe’s latest album. 

It’s half instrumental, half recorded with Yes vocalist Jon Davison, and when Howe steps up to the mic himself Davison sings harmony lines that add much needed lustre to Howe’s occasionally dusty vocal. 

Which is not to decry Love Is. As a singer, Howe might be a brilliant guitarist, and as a guitarist he is almost without parallel. 

Not surprisingly, it’s the instrumentals on this album that set the high-water mark. Not because Howe’s songwriting lets him down, simply that his guitar work is so unimpeachable that it’s hard to keep up. 

It’s difficult to find fault with the gentle acoustic Fulcrum or the jazzier Sound Picture, where Howe appears to be communicating with the universe and drawing its spectral magic down.

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion.