Published Sep 18, 2015Miami-based Steven A. Clark is not the next Frank Ocean. He isn't the next Weeknd. And he isn't doing Miguel, either.
With The Lonely Roller, his ambitions are there in the title; he's in his own lane, doing his own thing. What that "thing" is appears to be a twist on mid '80s electronic synth-pop filtered through an R&B mindset. The ten-track project builds off his earlier self-produced work (such as his Stripes mixtape and Late EP) to explore themes of desire, loss and love. Lead single "Can't Have" unfolds in a genre-less fashion, with its sweeping strings, urgent electro pop backdrop and soulful vocals. The title track features a hypnotic bass line and new wave-y elements, "Trouble Baby" features his plaintive vocals over a haunting expanse and "Time Machine" revels in its rock influences.
It's not all perfect — "Young, Wild, Free" invites the Weeknd comparisons and Bounty" suffers from clichés ("Can't get this bounty off my head…one day she's gonna hunt me down…") — but with The Lonely Roller, Steven A. Clark makes the most of his indie label backing with an intriguing and sure to be talked about formal debut. (Secretly Canadian)