Stephen Steinbrink's unfussy imagery stays detached from meaning. That's part of what makes his seven albums worth your time: In their lushly arranged pop songs, the listener can tie and untie Steinbrink's vivid and unrelated images into something meaningful — or not. Even his new album's title, Anagrams, suggests engagement through emotional and lyrical rearrangement.
The gingerly sweet "Building Machines" is deceptively simple, marrying an airy melody with dense instrumentation that recalls the solo work of The Sea And Cake's Archer Prewitt. Steinbrink is thoughtful about how he foregrounds and backgrounds sustained piano chords, smeared synths, crisp drums, intricate guitar work and his soft-rock vocal chill. The elements remain fluid from verse to verse, never bothering with a chorus and never needing one. After he sings, "You work building machines / Unraveling all they believe / I remember you from when I was small / The silence there was deafening," the song builds to a bit of feedback that teeters on chaos, yet rides the gently swaying wave.
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.