I was introduced to Steven A. Clark in 2012 when his self released album Fornication Under Consent of the King showed up in my inbox. The eclectic mix of R&B, hip-hop, electronic music, pop and rock won me over upon first listen and the album, which was available as a free download no less, went on to become my #13 Album of 2012.
Sadly, you can't find Fornication Under Consent of the King online as easily anymore but for good reason. Clark was signed to the Secretly Canadian label who first released an EP, Late, in 2014 that contained new versions of three songs from F.U.C.K. That was followed by Clark's latest full length The Lonely Roller in 2015. Here, Clark continues that mix he created on his earlier self released material, but even he will tell you, the production values are bigger and better.
Two of the songs on The Lonely Roller also appeared on F.U.C.K., although these are much different versions. The title track has been remixed and also omits a rap from J. Nics that appeared on the original, while "She's In Love" has been radically re-arranged from its original version. Also appearing here in a new version is the fantastic "Bounty", which was first released as a one-off single in 2013. Of the material seeing release for the first time on this album, there is a slew of stand-out tracks. "Not You" is a somber ballad with Clark admitting, 'I want love, I need love, but not you' to another. "Can't Have" is awash in 80's synths and captivating melodies. "Time Machine" reminds me of something Prince would have written and produced for a protégé act back in the 80's with it's drum machine beats and guitar licks.
The subject matter on The Lonely Roller is mostly love and relationships gone wrong, flawed characters such as the one described in the angry, electronic tinged "Trouble Baby". Clark melds so many of my favorite music styles, and there is an obvious 80's influence touched upon within so many of these tracks, it's no wonder this album resonated with me so strongly. R&B, soul, pop, rock, electronic, they're all a part of Clark's scintillating sound. He's a helluva songwriter, singer and producer and he put it all together on The Lonely Roller, my #2 Album of 2015.
Favorite tracks: "Time Machine", "Can't Have", "Not You", "Bounty"
The Lonely Roller was released September 18th, 2015 via the Secretly Canadian label.