Review: Trever Keith – Melancholics Anonymous

Label: self-released (digital only)

Released: February 2008

In the mid-90s, Trever Keith’s band Face to Face was releasing some of the best pop punk around. Big Choice still finds itself in at least my semi-regular rotation. However, they lost me with Ignorance is Bliss at the end of the decade and I never really came back. Now I find myself with Keith’s latest work, the solo Melancholics Anonymous.

While Legion of Doom, Keith’s mash up project, was, like most mash ups, a mixed bag at best, the benefits of his work on that as well as in production are pretty clear on this new album. His production and remix experience lead to an album that smoothly mixes the synthetic and the natural, using effects, but in proper doses and never gratuitously. Keith will drive a song with artificial rhythms and then use the bumps and lumps in his own voice to humanize the music.

At times, he draws on U2’s delay-drenched guitar work and simple rhythms. At others, he dips into 90s Brit Pop. While it seldom even hints at his Face to Face days, Melancholics Anonymous does have one thing in common with that past: The recognition that songs don’t have to be profound to make real connections. The album doesn’t go down the shadowy roads of post-this or post-that, but instead is very good in the here and now. Unlike maudlin emo, this melancholy pop record has something that rings true.

Keith has a collection of good songs and good performances, but the album as a whole is better than just that. His ability to use the synthetic to enhance the album’s emotional truths rather than hide its rough edges makes Melancholics Anonymous a subtle bit of honesty.

Satriani: 7/10
Zappa: 6/10
Dylan: 6/10
Aretha: 7/10
Overall: 7/10


If you’re curious about my rating categories, read the description.

About bobvinyl

bobvinyl, writer and co-editor of No Song is an Island, founded its predecessor, Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense (whose archives are found here), in 2005 and served as editor and principal contributor until it went on hiatus in 2010. He has also been published in AMP and Loud Fast Rules! (in print) as well as Glide and FensePost on the web. He has been an avid record collector since he was seven years old and enjoys sharing his love of music from the common to the esoteric.

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