By Steph Gray
Understandably keen to distance himself from the horror novelist, Christchurch musician Steven King chose to go by the name of a favourite cartoon character when he first started performing last year at the age of 22. King uses this self-titled debut album to demonstrate his ability with multi-instrumentation, vocal harmonies and a flair for composition. Piano tracks pick up guitar and ukulele-based songs and King's younger years spent listening to Elton John tapes on road trips have influenced the rocked-out second half of Love Means Nothing among other songs. Wasting Time nicely juxtaposes ukulele and pitch-shifted synthesiser bass and Ho-omahana (vacation) sways with breezy lyrics and the sweetest glockenspiel. King has maintained determined creative control with Gearloose - he has written, performed, recorded, engineered, produced, mixed and mastered the 13-track album, as well as designing the CD. It will be interesting to see him embrace collaboration, a few years down the line perhaps. Seldom is the solo artist undermined by the input of other musicians and King's strength of idiosyncrasy would see Gearloose emerge both intact and enhanced.