Essential New Music: Steve Gunn’s “The Unseen In Between”

Great music often comes from the effort to contain contradictory impulses, and so it is with The Unseen In Between. It aims higher and sounds bigger and bolder than anything else in Steve Gunn’s discography. The production is full, the melodies direct, the rhythms crisp and the gorgeous strings and subtle steel-guitar flourishes can sweep you up without you even noticing. This album strives to make an impact right away. 

But Gunn’s singing is tinged with a reserve that filters this impact, letting The Unseen In Between’s principal themes of connecting with people and carrying on when you lose them soak in rather than hit you head-on. This slow-growing emotional effect gives listeners reasons to keep coming back for more after they’ve grown accustomed to the hooks and start to take the alternately lilting and growling guitars for granted. 

—Bill Meyer