Seductive and vulnerable is how Trevor Harley paints his music. His voice is supremely confident, if quiet, and yet very convincing, even urgent on his album The Wanderlust. On the piano-studded "A Bench and a Street Light," Harley admits that, "Time goes by so fast / there's questions I need to ask / but it's hard to find the words." Ascending piano notes quickly glide across the track with percussive jingles and it becomes hard to ignore the singer's earnestness. These plaintive but telling statements populateThe Wanderlust.
Musically, though, Harley ventures into different genre territories. Do you know how unfair it is to classify music as "Singer-Songwriter?” Like, what elements are we supposed to watch out for? Because Harley goes with the flow, wherever it takes him, and we end up with an impressive mix of lounge, jazz, glam rock and folk. The songs are mid-tempo affairs so as to allow the lyrics to take the lead, unless Harley is doing that himself with the guitar, drums or bass (he plays all instruments himself, though he is also helped out at times by friend and fellow recorder Andy Thompson). I mean some of the riffs in "My Father's Words" where Harley flawlessly emulates Santana. In fact, throughout the EP Harley proves he has enough ideas, lyrically and musically, to sustain his creative output.
The mellow simplicity of "What's the Big Deal?" with just a guitar, piano and what sounds like a tambourine, just has Harley talking about what a pain-in-the-ass love, or even just affection, can be. "I've wanted to say it for so long / but my brain keeps yelling to hold on / but I know that you feel me so why don't we just be." I'm sure we all can relate. Meanwhile the reggae-cum-soul efforts in "The Lesser Bear" should not go unappreciated. Slick and sensual effects pedals underscore the much less forthcoming percussion, creating an interesting tension that's more steamy than anxious.
There's good stuff here. Perhaps not everyone's cup of tea, but there's enough of Harley trying out sounds to garner interest for those looking for variations on the Singer-Songwriter genre. Ugh, I can't believe I just wrote that.
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