Steve Nieve's new album Together is musically complex and distinct. It challenges the listener. It succeeds because of a combination of eccentricity and pulsing pop hooks.
Nieve embraces a wide range of styles and hosts a remarkable array of guests including Elvis Costello (for whom he is a Hall of Fame keyboardist), Harper Simon (son of Paul), and Sting. The guest vocals (there are fifteen different guests) add to the diversity of sounds that make the album one you can find something new with every time.
To suggest juxtaposition would be, in this case, a cliche, as there is much more to it than that would suggest. As the multi-lingual music moves from pop-punk to melodic to experimental and around again, the listener is brought into a remarkably textured world. The high-production level adds to and saves this dimension so that it works so well.
As the different sounds are interspersed through the jazzy album, the listener is invited on a ride that involves some letting go, as the music takes you on a unique path, but one whose structure is self-contained as it dares to go in a multitude of directions. The music contains multitudes so it may take more than one listen but this is one album worth coming back to for sonic pleasures and stimulations that are all together unique.