Cherry Red 2016
Sarcasm aplenty, silk-voiced singer-songwriter sculpts optimistic outlook at the world that’s no lost cause.
Given his nom de guerre and this record’s title, Trevor Midgley may seem a braggart, but the veteran artist’s weapon has always been his irony, and that’s why the gloom of Beau’s creations is so alluring. Less caustic than on 2015’s "Shoeless In The Desert" which established “an album a year” pattern after "Fly The Bluebird" had brought his romanticism to modern audience, not for nothing Midgley’s wrapping up the 13-track cycle with the folky “Hope” and its unapologetic “don’t correct me if I’m wrong, just close your eyes and sing along” passage. Trevor can only wish for the Orwellian vision of the title track to never come true, although it’s Kafka he’s referring to in “Skeletons Dance” before unleashing scorn on politics and press – those who contort the very same freedom of speech.
Various in mood, most pieces are even temperament-wise, if not in tempo, yet the strum of Beau’s 12-string and his smooth voice create all the tension the songs need – especially when it’s Midgley’s customary nautical piece, the tragic “Longhope” telling a real-life story now – which makes the Machiavellian blow of “The Patriot” so hard. So while Trevor is going to “apply for compassionate leave,” he doesn’t reserve any sympathy for TV preachers in “The Thinking Of God” and leaves it for “Everything’s Possible” that’s dedicated to inventors, the genuine progress movers. Still, it’s not all high-level musings because, in the end, any narrative – as suggested in “Something Of A Loner” – boils down to an average person, what with the artist focusing on his great-aunt in “Mary Huddleston” to get a handle of a one-way journey as a social tendency of both past and the future.
Hence the hope for the cyclical evolution to break from this mortal coil on a positive note, and if that’s not on original thought, it’s one we should often be reminded of.