Guitarist Steve Howe will always be best known for his monumental contribution to the band Yes, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing his music career into the solo artist realm. Now decades since the release of classics like ‘Fragile’ and ‘Close To The Edge’, Howe’s music serves to entertain existing fans of his work, rather than create new ones. Nowadays, his music very much reflects his age; no longer are there the complex, bombastic observations he once did with Yes, but soft pieces that would likely best fit under the ‘easy listening’ category. All the same, Steve Howe’s musical brilliance has never run out, and while ‘Time’ may not have the same longevity and depth of his life’s greatest work, it is a perfect album to stay in and listen to throughout a cold winter’s night.
At this point in his musical career, Steve Howe’s work reminds me greatly of Jeff Beck. A recent album of Beck’s, ‘Emotion And Commotion’, shares its musical formula with ‘Time’.
Fronted by Howe’s immortal lead guitar work, he has brought on a string section to back him up, and the result is closer to contemporary classical music than anything rock-related. As song titles like ‘Cantata No. 140′ and ‘Concerto Grosso In D Minor’ are quick to suggest, Howe’s main inspiration here is classical music, most specifically; the sort of classical music that might be put on to soundtrack a romantic candlelit dinner. The melodies are pleasantly predictable, and the lush string arrangements of Paul Joyce wash over the listener effortlessly. ‘Time’ is as beautiful an album as any, but for all of its pleasant bells and whistles, a listener looking for anything even remotely challenging or dynamic will come out empty handed. Steve Howe’s guitar work is soulful and tasteful, but upon returned listens to the album, listeners will find that ‘Time’ offers little in the way of growth or lasting appreciation. Instead, it’s an album that serves everything to its audience immediately, and doesn’t forget to include a silver spoon and cutlery.
The music is beautiful and pleasant, but harmless. ‘Time’ really is an album that demands virtually nothing from its listener, but at this point in Steve Howe’s career, that seems to be the most refreshing change of pace he could have taken.
01. Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 (Aria) 3:58
02. King’s Ransom 4:31
03. Cantata No. 140 (Wachet Auf) 3:57
04. Orange 2:43
05. Purification 3:52
06. Rose 3:41
07. The Explorer 5:09
08. Kindred Spirits 5:10
09. Concerto Grosso in D Minor Op. 3 5:24
10. The 3rd of March 5:51
11. Steam Age 3:12
12. Apollo 4:43