Album & Single Reviews

Published on March 1st, 2015 | by Andy Barnes


Steve Pledger – Striking Matches in the Wind

My first exposure to the delights of Steve Pledger occurred in the depths of his adopted Somerset at The Village Hall in Curry Rivel, where he shared the bill with Ange Hardy.  His set that night revealed a passionate and opinionated artist with an intricate, yet unambiguous command of song writing.  After the performance I purchased his debut album ’14 Good Intentions’, which highlighted flashes of his ability, but proved over long and meandering in places.  It did however, along with new music showcased that night suggest much more to come, which ‘Striking Matches in the Wind’ wholly confirms, a much more concise and ultimately focused piece of work.

Steve takes snippets of people’s lives, from reading articles or simply by his own thoughts and personal experience alongside views on modern day society. He interweaves melodies and intelligent wordplay to produce subtly sensitive songs on the one hand ‘A Heart left With Nothing to Do’, and acerbic political comment on the other, ‘A Parable of Intent.’  In the grand scheme, these two opposites shouldn’t sit happily side by side, but in the hands of Steve Pledger, they appear obvious bed fellows. A dry sense of humour also never far away, which ‘This Land is Pound Land’ with its astute nod and a wink to Woody Guthrie attests,

“Cos we want it cheap and we want it now, we don’t care where from and we don’t much care how, it could be clothes, fridge freezers, CD’S, bits of cow…..if you’re lucky…… that this, this land is pound land”

Lead track ‘Friends and Fathers , available via the latest excellent Fatea Showcases Sessions, is the perfect introduction to ‘Striking Matches in the Wind.’ Steve focusses on the affects war can have on family, producing surely one of the most heartachingly beautiful tracks of the year.  If you don’t shed a tear while listening, you truly have no heart.

Rarely does an artist resonate with me on such a personal level as Steve Pledger. ‘Striking Matches in the Wind’ is an intense emotional experience of the most inspired kind. A touching record interspersed with humour and strong traditional socialist values almost extinct from today’s barren political landscape. Steve strikes me as a man unafraid to cry, both personally and more generally in response to social injustice. The world would simply be a better place if more of the male gender had a similar capacity to express this most basic of human emotion.

Striking Matches in the Wind will be released 2nd April on Story Records Limited




About the Author

An avid music fan for far more years than he cares remember, and an avid gig goer since the age of fifteen. Of the three Sonic Bandwagon presenters, Andy exhibits the most varied taste. It’s certainly not uncommon for a diabolically dark piece of Black Metal to be swiftly followed by minimalist electro pop, a laid back piece of ambient jazz or even a full scale hoedown.

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