Through Cells

Steve Riley
Airstrive Recordings, catalog no. ASRV-001C-1, (cdbaby no. 888174525488)
originally released: July 13, 2000
re-released: January 21, 2014


Finally arriving over 10 years after his debut, Through Cells is Steve Riley’s third recorded offering, and second full-length solo recording of rock-pop music.  This recording finds Steve a little older and wiser, with a new-found confidence in a set of songs which are more guitar-driven rock, in contrast to the more keyboard-oriented pop of his eponymous debut a decade earlier.  He plays the majority of instruments on this recording including electric/acoustic guitars, bass, piano/keyboards, and of course drums and percussion.  Other notable musical guests include long-time cohort guitarist Sebastian Alfie, bassists Dave Learned and Paul Miller, and the WB horn section, led by former Glenn Miller band trumpeter, Steve Molloy.  Always living by the musical motto that ‘variety is the key’, Steve displays many moods and textures on the 14 diverse songs contained in this recording, from the power-pop sensibilities of “Already Awake”, “Can’t Beat The Clock”, “Again” and “Autobiographies”, to the piano-driven positive vibes in “When We Leap (The Net Will Appear)” and “Are We Anywhere?”, to the confessional and acoustic influences in “Here Simply For You”, “This One Thing” and “Youth Comes With Age”, and the piano/vocal heart-on-the-sleeve simplicity of “For Little and Carvey”.  All the original material on this recording was regularly performed by Wryly Bent, the live band in which Steve Riley performed as the primary vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, and which still records regularly.  Other songs on the CD which were particular crowd favorites include the rocking “Nothing Important”, “Just Come Around”, and the ska-influenced “No Middle Ground”.  The undeniable centerpiece of the CD is the emotional and thought-provoking final track, “Singing Through Cells”; an 8-minute journey which Steve Riley has described as his all-time favorite work of his own music in any of the genres for which he has composed.  Upon Through Cells release, Michael Newman of The Lawrence Journal-World Mag Online stated, “Steve Riley is what you might call polyrhythmic.  That is to say, he’s a drummer that can definitely keep a multitude of beats.  A classically trained timpanist and composer, music educator, pit band percussionist and rock musician; it’s not surprising that such a percussive chameleon in broader terms would also be able to don a variety of pop styles as part of an eclectic musical wardrobe.”