Thursday, 18 August 2011

The Trestles. What Do You see

CD review; The Trestles. What do you see

The Trestles are, Alan o’hare, Tom Carroll, Howard Northover, Michael Tetlow, Ben Godfrey and Ian lewis. They happen to hail from Liverpool…its hard to imagine they could come from anywhere else.
Ive spoken to and corresponded with Alan o’hare in the past when he had a day job with our local rag, the Echo. He was very kind and very helpful.

For me, this puts me in an awkward position when opting to review a CD by his band of brothers. See I really struggle to be critical, in public about people I know. I'm happy to tell them face to face when something isn't to my taste, but to put my opinion in the ether as a guide whether people should purchase leaves me uneasy. Its why I didn’t pursue a career in music jounalism...that.. and that fact that i am a crap writer... Truth is, I’m just not ruthless enough to slag something off produced by people I like..and I’m too honest to praise something that I think is crap.

I’d only heard “sing on” a couple of times (on The End Blog, ironically) and was undecided. So what a relief it was when the first track burst into life and the opening line sneered, “I wanna drink of water from a mountain stream…….. I wanna policeman’s daughter to notice me “…..I just knew the next 45 minutes or so where going to be joyous.

The Trestles take you back to the days when bands had something to say that reflects the life and times around them. The sleeve notes give a nod of thanks and acknowledgement to Joe Strummer and Christy Moore amongst others and that sets the tone nicely. The album is chocker block with heartfelt anthems with fist pumping sing-along chorus’s. To to describe their sound as Pop or rock doesn’t cover it…I’m reminded at times of the past Liverpool twangs of Shack, Wylie, the La’s,... crossing over with Dylan and the Charlatans later American leanings (Hammond organ and all..and who can resist a bit of Hammond organ on a summers day?),. A heady mix for this humble narrator.

The Album opens up with the uplifting aforementioned “Drink of water”, which prepares you for the lyrical styling’s to come. The Folky acoustic guitar gives way to a fine old rocking tune,“I wanna hear the singer sing me a song. I want blood on my fingers to stain this guitar. I want Christy Moore to sing me to sleep. I want a bang on the door to bring me some peace” and it carries on in an inspiring pace. When I got to track 3, the aforementioned “Sing on”, I'd gained a new perspective of the song...Amongst its musical brothers the song now stood out and grabbed me by the throat. Beautifully arranged, the song starts with a great acoustic riff and vocals, it's a rousting sing along song about love and hate and the very struggles of life.. ..”let me tell you a little tale about a man about a man I met last night, singing on my favourite streets, looking for a fight. Not the type of fight you think I kicks no fists, no knives in sight, just a fight to save your heart and souls and send you home feeling alright”. It’s a perfect song for the summer of 2011 and has me perplexed as to why this city hasn't taken the Trestles to their hearts (yet) instead of the likes of fey, unwitty scouse wannabe’s like the Wombats.
The album is full of songs in similar vein. “The Civilised” takes a rockier route . "The Boy up North" takes it to slower acoustic lament while "Maggies Farm" ventures in that Americana sound, (stirring memories of the underrated Green on Red) whilst the lyric’s remain undoubtedly working class England. “Ghost of redundancy” is unerringly current..(the guitar in this reminds me of a track from Half man Half buisuit back in the DSS album) the words go, “All shut down again, its de ja vu again". We all, surely get that.
Other stand out tracks are “Everything I know” (you can imagine a lot of people choosing to turn this song when they lose their Fathers... An unashamed tribute to the writer’s auld feller.

“Thirty”, puts me in mind of an 80’s mod anthem (the Chords anyone?) about growing old and the closing track, “This House” is another out and out song about lost love.
There are no duff tracks.

For all its Gaelic verbal nods and occasional Americana What do you see manages to remain essentially English…northern English, at that, and thoroughly inspiring and entertaining. I love it

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