[Review] Steve Howe: Homebrew 3 (2005)

This time, it’s demos from Turbulence, Quantum Guitars and Natural Timbre plus some new stuff.

Kronomyth 16.0: Turbrewlence.

Every five years or so, Steve collects all the bits and pieces from his home recording studio and releases them under the Homebrew brand. Homebrew 3 features demos of songs that appeared on Turbulence, Quantum Guitars and Natural Timbre plus a fine assortment of fragments, unreleased songs and instrumentals. Unlike the first two Homebrews, you won’t find any windows into classic Yes material on Homebrew 3. What you will find is another treasure trove of good ideas that, with a little polish, might have graced any number of Steve Howe, Yes or even Asia albums.

Homebrew 3 contains quite a few unreleased songs, and I’ll admit that there is a certain pleasure in hearing Steve sing these days, as it brings another layer of melody into the mix. In fact, listening to songs like “Suddenly” and “Just A Passing Phase,” I’m reminded of the demo recordings of XTC (Homespun). (Steve Howe and XTC? Now that would be a pairing for the ages!) While you can hear the ladle scrape the bottom of the barrel once or twice (e.g., “Getting Through”), what impressed me on Homebrew 3 is how deep the barrel goes. Howe seems to have an endless supply of good ideas, and what the Homebrew releases lack in production quality they make up for in variety. Here, you’ll hear Steve Howe’s acoustic side, electric side, sense of humor and sense of wonder in a generous assortment.

Yes fans will feel at home on the Homebrew releases, perhaps even moreso than some of the proper Steve Howe solo albums like Turbulence. I understand that many might feel the Homebrew sessions are non-essential, but in a world with so little magic, I’ll take it where I find it, and I found more of it than I expected on Homebrew 3.

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The Songs

1. Turbulence (3:59)
2. Hint Hint (3:09)
3. The Main Title (2:30)
4. Just A Passing Phase (3:01)
5. Suddenly (2:35)
6. Kind of Friends (3:37)
7. Pyramidology (1:35)
8. In The Course of The Day (2:24)
9. Family Tree (4:02)
10. Solar Winds (2:01)
11. In Your World (1:18)
12. No Deceiving (2:49)
13. From Door To Door (4:23)
14. Cruise Control (1:17)
15. It’s Too Late (3:01)
16. Seven Castles (3:22)
17. Between Your Smiles (2:03)
18. Reaching Out (3:01)
19. The Last Word (4:27)
20. Getting Through (0:54)
21. Outlawed (3:51)

The Plastic

Released on compact disc on July 10, 2005 in Germany (Inside Out, SPV 48632 CD).

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