Monday, January 28, 2008

Music Review: Steven Delopoulos Straightjacket

Steven DelopoulosI feel a little bit late, like I'm copying some from Andrew Peterson's post in The Rabbit Room last week. But I had been working on this one in my head for a few weeks now, so I'll share it anyway.

Some of you may remember the popular Christian band Burlap to Cashmere, active in the late 90's and known for their world-music sound. The lead singer for that group,
Steven Delopoulos, has gone on to do solo work and recently released his second album, Straightjacket.

Following in the pattern of his first album, Me Died Blue, Straightjacket is a collection of thought-provoking modern folk music. Borrowing heavily from his Greek heritage (and even overlaying audio from the Greek Orthodox liturgy), Delopoulos' guitar work is driving and pulls you through the music.

Read more . . .
The first song on the album, "Ruin of the Beast", is an amazingly complex song. (Another) Stephen commented on The Rabbit Room, "I’m hoping to figure out a little of what it means within a couple of years." I would have to agree. In this song, and many others, Delopoulos paints a canvas so deep and intricate that, while stopping to admire the beauty of one section, we may still miss the whole of the artwork. Below is the video for this song, which has been released on YouTube.

Other highlights of the album include "Work to be Done", a song about lending into the great work which God has set for us, and "She Held My Hand" about a man being lead away from a self-styled path to fame to find Christ. The songs "May I Always Keep My Feet Upon the Ground" and "Halt" are stylistically very different from the other songs, having more of a call-and-response or gritty chant feel (respectively). "Open Your Eyes" is perhaps to most hauntingly beautiful song I have heard in a long time - listen to the clip on iTunes and enjoy the mornful beauty of the song.

Many people may not be so interested in listening to songs requiring this much thought to fully understand; as a people who predominately listen to music on the radio while hopping in and out of the car and rarely able to listen to a song in its entirety, this can be understood. But at times it is well worth the escape from the normal routine to make time and absorb great artwork. Delopoulos' Straightjacket is the perfect offering for such a retreat, and I would recommend it highly. Currently, it is only sold as a
download through Delopoulos website or on iTunes, but at $10 it is well worth the price.

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Anonymous said...

When I played "Ruin of the Beast" for my mom over Christmas, she said she didn't like songs that you could never tell what they were saying. And I relayed my experiences of understanding his lyrics more and more over time. There are still new things that I am discovering in "Me Died Blue", after I had listened to it solid for almost a year.

But then, at Steve's release show here in Nashville, when he introduced "Wallfly", he said "when I wrote this I had no idea what it means, and today I have no idea what it means. But it's fun to play, so here it goes!". So I'm not too worried about trying to figure out what everything means.

euphrony said...

That's makes it a little easier. "Wallfly" is a fun song.

Maybe you can tell me: why do the line notes omit "Wallfly" and "Fire Away"?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure. I got a pre-release download to review, and there was one track in my download that they later decided to save for a bonus track, and they replaced it with one they had been saving. So my guess is that they were still working on the final tracklist when they had to have the liner notes finished.

The liner notes weren't in my download. Do you mind forwarding them to me?

euphrony said...

Easier than that. The liner notes on available for download on his website, under "Extras".

Unknown said...

There's a new B-Sides release of 8 extra songs from Straightjacket on

You can go to to download the album for free.

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