Image courtesy of National Tevor and Darren Washington
National Trevor – not what was expected at all: a limitless candy jar of an album; a beautiful and transcending journey of the elegant, the educated, the real, the dark, the romantic, the light and breezy, and the wanting qualities of man – yes all under one umbrella. Si Waite, the Staffordshire University lecturer offers songs for the times: songs of the condition of the modern man, and upon listen it’s brilliantly uplifting and liberating.
The first half of the album sees Waite at his eloquent best. ‘Each Time I See Your Face’, the opener, exposes his clean, true, and heartfelt approach, which is continual throughout the whole musical experience. We get to celebrate his multi-dimensional voice, sometimes seeing hints of a husky ‘Beck’/’Ryan Adams’, and then sometimes the finesse of ‘Guy Garvey’ (‘Footprints’), and then again, ‘Sting’, this man manages to pull off the distinction of Sting’s 30 year career in his voice. He goes down like a fine vintage wine: sophisticated and warming. From the first track I refused to believe this was a product from Stoke. Nothing this delicate and ornate could come from this area, no way. Even his words: ‘We move like Heaven, we beings’ are simply divine; utterly moving and awe-inspiring, it must be unforgettable to witness live.
‘Take What You Need’ is a fine example of his very genuine style of songwriting. The tension created in this soulful love song is captured by the music, to lead you on with the lyrics to wonder where this story will lead: ‘Loneliness…waiting in the shadow of another day’. He works up to an almost Wordsworthian ending which puts him amongst Stoke’s elite performers.
A sweeping levity is then brought in by the comically titled: ‘I Love it When You Shave Your Legs’ – a wonderful insight into his quirky microcosm – very true and very modern attitudes to the running theme of love. The track may appear to be outrageous, but it fits into his works perfectly, and actually makes pretty good sense when you give it a spin.
‘The Hand of History’ was an intriguing highlight exploring his darker side, with otherworldly touches that could have nicely fitted on the Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis. It’s talented and tangible. ‘Hey You’ sounded hauntingly familiar, that, or I’d already got and understood the album’s ethos entirely and lovingly. It has to be noted, that this track in particular, resonates Jeff Buckley’s ‘So Real’, with wondrous high notes and lifts to create a poetic ballet of sound.
‘I Don’t Want to Sing Along’, and ‘Restless Waves’, are his ballsy and bolshie tracks, like a young, fired-up Adams, where you really get into his rhythm and peaks of great musical magnitude. These songs of resistance and angst are easy to adore and become attuned to.
‘Baby I’m Your Boy’ has a comedown of more light, summery tunes towards its climax. With ‘Sunrise’, all troubles are gone ‘Throwaway your blues’, in this oceanic number, you can almost smell the suntan lotion. More happy acoustics come in the tranquil form of ‘Still Life’, ‘Made of Stars’ and ‘Time in my Hand’ – the finale.
This album can’t come recommended highly enough, so listen for yourselves.