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REVIEWS

TREV WILLIAMS 'The Start Line'

(Self released)

Trev Williams has been a quiet but persistent presence on the local scene for a decade or so now, twice a Demo of the Month winner, and a regular face on the live circuit Š albeit mostly at open mic sessions in recent times as his day job as a guitar tutor took over. It comes as a surprise then that 'The Start Line' is only his second album in that time. HeÕs always displayed a way with a tune, even if his nervous stage presence has made gigs a sometimes uncomfortable experience, but with this record he reveals himself to be a genuinely under-appreciated talent, aided and abetted by an extensive cast of fellow local musicians who expand on his raw ideas to make for a surprisingly fulsome album.

In particular the likes of Hannah Rhodes and the excellent Bethany Weimers add their voices to Trev's sometimes slightly rasping vocal performance to soften, warm and expand tracks like 'Along the Way' and album highlight 'The Only One', lending them added depth and soul, while strings and brass bolster the skeletons of songs. Gabrielle Lambrick's viola and inventive backing vocals on 'We Will Wake' are a prime example of how Trev's songs can blossom on record where they might sound slender when he plays them solo onstage.

Trev's always been a man to wear his emotions on his lyrical sleeve, and here he deals with personal issues, including mental health, as well as a love of running, but the title track shows this doesnÕt have to mean the albumÕs a melancholy journey, bringing an upbeat vibe to bear and perhaps use running as a metaphor for escape, while 'Cockroach' proves Trev can rock out when the mood take him. That said, 'You Cut, We Bleed' is a sharp dagger to the heart of government cuts to public services and the effect they have, particularly when it comes to health. Here Trev stretches his voice the furthest and provides one his best performances to date.

A reminder of just how long itÕs been since Trev released his last album comes with the inclusion here of 'Keep Singing', which has cropped up on various demos over the years and continues to haunt us with its mixed metaphors ("Blackbird singing in the dark / Falling like a star / But singing like a lark / Beating like a drum") and weÕll go to our grave happy if we never have to hear it again, but that aberration aside, this is a fine, sometimes excellent, varied album from a singer and songwriter whose honesty might lead to the odd clumsy moment but one who more than so many deserves to be heard.

Dale Kattack

NIGHTSHIFT

STORM REVIEW

TREVOR WILLIAMS 'Storm'
(Own label download)

We wonder if anyone, even Trevor himself, has quite worked out Trevor Williams yet. He's been a fixture on the local scene for a decade or so now and we still never know whether his next song is going to be a gem or a heap of dung. Two Nightshift Demo of the Months in a row, this full EP release features four songs which scatter themselves between both extremes.
In the former is 'Skeleton', a dark, slightly bleak slice of maudlin self contemplation. 'Who are my real friends, and why are they so afraid' he wonders, perhaps contemplating whether he himself is some kind of a curse. He certainly has the ability to dig deep into his own reserves of self doubt and loathing, while sometimes poking his head above the parapet to offer a clarion call for resilience and doing your own thing.
Trevor's cosy mix of warmth and alienation wins out. 'Storm' reiterates his craving for love over sparse acoustic guitar jangle and neatly unobtrusive synth whooshes, while 'Lucky' finds his insecurities laid bare as he pleads, 'I want my lollipop / I want my red balloon / I want my teddy bear.' Childish perhaps but more honest than many singers of this ilk can ever manage. Still a bit of a conundrum then, but with 'Storm', Mr Williams keeps us guessing, while reminding us that at his best he's deserving of that love he craves. Dale Kattack
READ Nightshift January 2013

Oxford Mail interview

I was interviewed for the Oxford Mail recently, you can read online it: here!

Interview on BBC OXFORD

I was talking on BBC radio OXFORD on Wednesday (9th May 2012) about Wittstock festival, My music and my links to Oxfordshire MIND.

listen again on iplayer this week : or here

Keep Singing EP Review

OMS

trevorwilliams keepsinging (self-released)

Trev Williams has long been a feature on the local music scene and his newest EP meets his usual high standard. The lead track, ŌHappy SongÕ, is simple, catchy and would be the perfect soundtrack to a summer's day in the park. ŌYou Cut We BleedÕ is a more dramatic, piano-based affair but lacks the emotional hook to allow it to resonate properly with the audience. ŌIn The DarkÕ returns the disc to its more upbeat, summery feel, and wouldn't sound out of place among other charting indie tracks. The title track, ŌKeep SingingÕ, continues the indie vibe and returns us nicely to the catchy lyrics and somewhat Beatles-esque melodies. That one track aside, this is very respectable indie fare which makes you wonder when Trev will finally get the recognition he's worked so hard for. (KS)
OMS Autumn OMS Autumn

Music in Oxford

Trev Williams Š Keep Singing EP (self-released)

Trev Williams is one of the good guys. One of Oxford music's nice blokes, he always has a smile and a positive lyric for any passer by. Except when he gets a bit angry and moans about everything, but even the he tends to apologise afterwards. Top man. But still, we've never really got a grasp on his music, which we've always found pleasant, harmless and Š let's be frank Š trite. His trio The Follys, despite an infuriating approach to pluralisation, made a tight enough noise we'll admit, but we still couldn't find much in the songwriting to get excited about.

Then, about 18 months ago, we were watching Trev play at the arse end of some bill somewhere, and suddenly realised that we were enjoying it. The new songs wormed their way into our consciousness in a way the older ones never had, and a Labi Siffre cover proved that Trev had polished his singing voice. This new EP proves conclusively that the best thing a musician can have is not perfect pitch, posh equipment or a Dad who works for EMI, but determination and dedication. It's a great little listen, and welcomes Trev into the upper echelons of Oxford's singer-songwriters.

'Happy Song' might be the sort of platitudinous pop that Trev is wont to indulge in, but it does sound pretty great, with a delayed toy piano complementing an approachable vocal melody. Its optimistic bonhomie can be a little wearing, like having some Phil Daniels impersonator slap you on the back gurning ŅCheer up, might never 'appenÓ every 8 bars, but it's undeniably well put together. 'In The Dark' is similar fare. The song doesn't set us alight Š in fact, the only memorable bit is snaffled from 'My Girl' Š but it's probably the best vocal performance Trev has ever put onto wax, and the crisp production is built around a supply dark keyboard part that puts us in mind of Red Snapper.

This pair are all very well and good, but it's the other two tracks that really show how Williams has developed. Nightshift Demo Of The Month winner ŅYou Cut, We BleedÓ still sounds wonderful, a burst of rage and reverb that blossoms into a life-affirming piano jaunt when the pressure threatens to break the song apart. It was composed in response to recent public spending cuts, but frankly the lyrics are so opaque that it could easily have been about sloppy management at Trev's favourite football club, or the time his housemate drank all the milk. No problems there, the simplicity and directness of the lyrics makes the song feel universal, and suggests it may have a shelf life beyond the current administration.

It's a great track, but it's eclipsed by the title track. We'll skim over the opening couplet, which has one of the clumsier similes we've ever heard, and jump straight into the meat of the song, a gorgeous cyclical, floating melody that wafts over the top of delicately plucked guitar. Live versions have often drifted away into loop pedal heaven, and our only real criticism of the piece is that we could have done with more of it. Anyone who thinks this review sounds a bit patronising or distant might like to know that the last time we found ourselves inadvertently humming an Oxford tune this much, it was 'Zorbing', which is high praise indeed. Keep singing? If there's one thing we can conclude about this release, it's that we hope Trev takes his own advice, we hope there's lots more like this to come.

By David Murphy
musicinoxford.co.uk

Oxford Music Blog

Trev Williams Š Keep Singing EP Posted on 02 August 2011.

After releasing his first EP last month, I am expecting to hear great things from this Oxford based singer songwriter, Trev Williams. Having recently released his fresh and innovative EP named 'Keep Singing', we are introduced to four acoustic, very pop influenced tracks, including the recent Nightshift Demo Of The Month, 'You Cut We Bleed'.

'Keep Singing', is obviously the most important number on the EP. The beautiful lyrics go together with the instrumentals immensely which create an extremely attractive sound. I like that an incorporation of harmony has been embedded into the song as it adds to the dreamy characteristics. This is a song I could listen to on repeat for hours.

'In The Dark' is quite a contrast in comparison to 'Keep Singing' as it is a lot more electronic. In this track, Trev demonstrates his amazing vocal range and you really get an idea of the strength behind his voice. This has to be my favourite track on the EP purely because of the much faster pace and the assortment of sounds.

Trev includes the use of repetition of his lyrics in the introduction of 'You Cut We Bleed' which makes the song enormously authoritative. 'You Cut We Bleed' is Š refreshingly Š a piano based song, adding welcome variation to the EP's sound. I think that this difference between these tracks is highly necessary on this EP as it progresses the music and explores different melodies and emotion. The lyrics to this song are raw and highly moving.

Going back to the element of repetition, 'Happy Song' is smothered. The just-over three minute track represents a balanced mixture of dreamy determination (the dreamy sensation from the 'pop' style guitar chords and the determination from the lyrics and the wonder that is Trev William's voice). Rather obviously, 'Happy Song' is steeped in minor chords and sombre spirit, nevertheless, this is a good EP and I look forward to hearing more from Trev Williams.
Cydney Yeates

oxfordmusicblog.co.uk

Nightshift

TREVOR WILLIAMS Keep Singing
(Own label)

Trev Williams knows that music matters, that like food, it's a quick route to the emotions. Here on this four track EP he consolidates his brilliant 2006 debut album 'Guiding Star' (which recently got its long-overdue digital release) with an equally well-rounded batch of songs that glow with the mindful optimism of Labi Siffre, and a voice that will please anyone who is a fan of Damon Albarn.
To Trev, the song, and singing, is synonymous with life, and living. So 'Happy Song' (ŅThere's always a happy song / You've just to find the right oneÓ) and the McCartney-esque 'Keep Singing', speak for themselves as beacons of hope, while in 'You Cut, We Bleed' he takes the bear-like gait and growl of a rising piano scale and bursts out onto a rooftop in a waltzing remonstration against the Government's Age of Austerity. 'In The Dark' is quintessential Trev at his very best. Ostensibly a plea for the survival of a relationship, it has all the hallmarks of his pin-perfect production and lightness of touch, that means the melody will continue to appear suddenly in your mind long after you've heard it, making you play it again and so continuing the cycle. Good enough for second helpings.
Paul Carrera

August 2011 Nightshift

You Cut We Bleed - Demo

Nightshift Demo of the Month, March 2011 issue

review on http://www.oxfordmusicblog.co.uk/ Feb 2011
following these positive reviews the new version was recorded at Challow Park Studios.. thanks for your feedback! march 2011

One line reviews/feedback from Live Virtual Gig

recorded and broadcast 18 december 2010 after being stuck in snow.. it was lovely some people could watch who might not normally be able to make a gig also!

Watching now and liking lots! My cockles are being warmed ;o) HB
how enterprising 2 go online, Brilliantly done KB
Welldone! I like the loop thingy! SD
now here for Christmas and we've just watched Trevor's gig online. It was great to see and hear his performance AH
Thanks so much for this - still up there today. Managed to "save" it so I can enjoy it properly when I'm offline and not distracted! VF
Brilliant! So wintery with hat and snow! EC
Brrr, looks a bit cold but great link! The guy can sing! RC
Very alpine! Nice to see some of the gig. I knew all the songs I listened to :-) NW
i expected mention of the loop peddle in fact i was telling people about it the other night.nice one trev. JC
check out trev with the satellite hook up! LC
i do admire trev he couldnt get in so did his show at home and broadcast it. JM
funny hat. sound a little compressed. time will come...... big love. DB
there are some nice things that came out of the event. There's Trev's little braodcast, which I thought was a decent way of staying in the spirit. RC
Wonderful Virtual Concert Trev! LB

thank you for your comments!! :)

Reviews of other bands

keep your eyes pealed for new page.. coming soon!

Acoustic reviews

festival review
Our highlight of the weekend has to be the early Sunday afternoon sing-a-long session, with Trev Williams. Now doubling up with P.J on the beat box and Cajon, his melodies have a whole new level of breadth. New song ‘It’s Not Personal’ highlights just how much Trev has progressed over the course of the year, both lyrically and musically, whilst older songs such as ‘Girlfriend’ seem to have an and extra kick. Add to this vocal harmonies from some enthusiastic audience members on ‘Something Inside So Strong’ and the result was a special moment that left the hairs on the neck still standing long after the song had finished. Lisa Ward, OMS winter 2010

Winter Warmer festival review
Local singer/songmeister Trev Williams was up next, accompanied by a fellow named PJ who slaps and thumps a cajon and bongo along with Trev’s guitar. Despite his purportedly downbeat feeling about the gig and his song choices, Trev actually plays some pretty energetic and upbeat tunes, albeit while tackling some pretty heavy topics. It doesn’t drag at all though, and Trev’s compositions are interesting and well-structured enough that he avoids most of the pitfalls so common in this kind of music. He certainly doesn’t come across as the archetypically dour purveyor of self-loathing and doom that so many of this ilk aspire to. Tim Lovegrove, Oxfordbands.com, jan 2010

Acoustic gig review
Had my first "Trev experience" last night and rather enjoyed it. Good skills Trev. Daisy Rodgers music, Nov 2009

The Follys
The Follys

EP Review The vulnerable punk: it’s not quite the contradiction in terms that it sounds. Feargal Sharkey of The Undertones serves as the archetype-disaffected, nervous, needy-and Trevor Williams, fronting his band The Follys, comes across as all of these... this latest EP the trio is in good, tight, spiky form, and all four songs are worth a listen... Special mention should be made to the drummer, Luke Gerry, who maintains clever little syncopated patterns throughout the verses and choruses. ‘Thinking of You’ rounds things off pretty strongly. It’s a little more chromatic than the others and boasts another catchy chorus, before ending with a nod to Coldplay’s ‘Clocks’. Colin MacKinnon, Oxfordbands.com April 2009

LF / MIND gig The Follys absolutely rocked - trev comes across as a bit sweet and sensitive here, but live he's a mean fukka. Jamess April 2009

EP Review Trev and his Follys are back and by god does he mean it. Hostile Town rocks like a good ‘un and Trev is nearly snarling and spitting the lyrics out. He’s a decent singer but this style suits him much better, it’s primal garage rock with a sweet chorus. Maps To Nowhere has a lovely spindly guitar line, reminding me of the ramshackle sweetness of Orange Juice and the staggering confidence of Eat. Don’t Let Them Down is further evidence of The Follys coming together as a band. It reminds me of those great indie bands of the early nineties, The Family Cat and the like. Thinking of You is a crashing end to the EP, the instruments assaulting your senses in constant piercing movements. Russells Reviews March 2009

Melodic, uplifting, got balls. Jack FM March 2009

THE FOLLYS : ‘Maps To Nowhere’ (Own Label) Better known around Oxfordshire as a solo acoustic singer-songwriter of a more melancholy disposition, Trev Williams finds an outlet for his brasher, more aggressive instincts with The Follys, a three-piece whose muscular r’n’b is rooted firmly in the pub-rock scene of the mid- 70s when a back-to-basics approach retaliated against the excesses of prog and paved the way for punk. ‘Maps To Nowhere’ is a four-song EP that at once shows Trev does have an ear for a decent tune but can be frustratingly inconsistent. Highlight here by some distance is the title track with its easy, hook-laden chorus and jangly thrash that strips away all the frippery and histrionics of the other tracks. If it has a fault it’s that maybe Trev could rein in his vocal stridency, but it’s a tune that sticks in your head long after the CD has finished. Dale Kattack, Nightshift April 2009

STATUS UPDATE : has just listened to 'Maps to Nowhere' by The Follys and is thinking... 'This is rather good!' David Reynolds March 2009

MAPS TO NOWHERE TRACK : That's catchy isn't it? I like a song with a hook.. can you sleep to ni-i-ii-ight?! Dave Gilliat, BBC Radio Oxford Feb 2009

PROMO CD REVIEW : picked up a copy of your cd last night i had no idea what to expect musicaly. ive played it 5 times in a row, i realy dig hostile town in particular its got a urgency and a great hook.love the way the drums then bass come in. i genuinely like it :-) johnnymoto Feb 2009

LIVE REVIEW : The Folly’s have certainly changed from their last EP, coming out guns blazing, complete with cranked up amps and a nice bit of angst to boot. Whilst their previous EP, was aptly named ‘Sunrise’ and contained plenty or warm vibes, the newer songs performed tonight showed that the Folly’s have more than one string to their bow. That’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom, just that in contrast to their earlier work there’s an element of shade now. They appear to have grown as a band too, with the input from Luke on drums and Paul on bass being more prominent throughout and it’s perhaps this change which has meant that Trev’s vocals now seem to fit more snugly with the music. Their increased presence allows his emotion ridden vocals to blend into the melodies with ease, in turn creating a more holistic rock sound. Whilst all of the new material showcased this evening showed promise ‘Maps To Nowhere’ is perhaps the most noteworthy, highlighting the development of the trio both lyrically and musically. Though like every other band playing gigs at this level, there’s always room for improvement, it’s clear that The Folly’s are travelling in the right musical direction to suit their abilities. Lisa Ward 2009

Opening act The Follys were halfway through their set upstairs at the Crown when I arrived. Frontman singer and guitarist Trev Williams was in energetic form, playing some of his familiar tunes, some new ones and an excellent cover of the Pixies song "Where is my mind?". He gave the appreciative audience some of his wild playing and soaring vocal style, backed up by the musical input from Paul on bass and Luke on drums - between them they have a tight and uplifting sound. They are planning to release another CD called "maps to Nowhere" in the New Year. Trev also did a funny impersonation of a butterfly when introducing the song of that name!
Al Cane; Faringdon Folly, October 2008

Sunrise EP

Opening with ‘Give a Little Love’ The Follys new EP ‘Sunrise’ starts with a bang. Sounding like something The Kooks may have written, it creates a happy go lucky sound epitomising sunshine. The title track follows a similar suit, though the song is actually about being trapped in a field with a bull!

Seemingly not ones to conform, ‘Pretty City Boy’ also breaks the mould, offering a more psychedelic sound not heard elsewhere on this EP. However it blends in well and offers listeners a chance to sample the varying styles The Follys have managed to create.

Clearer than the deceptive titles, is the bands ability to create a joyful sound often neglected by more traditional indie bands. Whilst ‘In The Dark’ does have a sound to reflect its title, it’s not all doom and gloom with repetitive refrains lifting the song up and making it a perfect tune to sing along to. ‘Butterfly’ is an equally strong track and makes a great ending to the EP, leaving you with a warm sound, reflective of those early mornings, when the sunrise gently wakes you from slumber.

Just as no one complains about the sunrise, there is little to fault about this offering from The Follys either.

Lisa Ward, Oxfordshire Music Scene April 2008

READ OTHER REVIEWS OF SUNRISE HERE

SOLO REVIEWS - Trev Williams

Folly Review

More Reviews HERE

GUIDING STAR, album review by Russel Barker

Singer-songwriters are ten a penny nowadays, so you need to be good or different to stand out from the crowd. Luckily for Trev Williams he's given himself a good start with this album.

It starts off with the joyous, bouncy 'All The Demons Have Gone' and he's out the blocks and in your face. In the nicest possible way of course. The tambourine adds to an almost happy, clappy feel to the song. Keeping up the uplifting theme 'I Did It For You' is a plain summer tune, a lovely male/female duet.

'Cut In Two' is a different prospect altogether. Trev struggles manfully to hold the tune together as it shoots off in all directions before kicking into a Beatles style chorus and then disappearing into vocoderness.

'I Missed You' could be a Coldplay demo; the way Trev's voice soars magnificently. 'Girlfriend' is a slightlydelic grungy ballad but unfortunately the mid section dips. 'Hyena' is MOR folk and 'Is It Greener Now I'm Gone?' a swirling piano led tune, but a tad dull.

Come 'When My Heart Skips A Beat' he cleverly mixes up the Cure's 'Lovesong' and a Mavericks style country sway along. It's another example of Trev coming up with something innocent and interesting. And it's when he does experiment that he gets the best results.

By Russell Barker, June 2006

Nightshift review

TREV WILLIAMS - ‘Guiding Star’ - (Own Label)

Good old Trev; he’s come in for a bit of a battering in the past in Nightshift’s demo pages but merrily he comes back for more. And come back stronger if this debut album is anything to go by. Where before Trev was prone to schmaltzy romanticism, here he rocks it up a bit while occasionally showing that he’s an adept tunesmith.

Opening number ‘All The Demons Have Gone’ is standard pub rock party fare, while ‘Cut In Two’ is a basic, shouty stab at The Who, but more considered moments, like the almost dreamy ‘I Did It For You’ and ‘Hyena’, with their folky take on 60s Californian pop and unobtrusive but effective female backing vocals show his strengths. In fact backing singers Hannah Rhodes and Naomi Bullock could be the real stars of ‘Guiding Star’, whether they’re cooing softly as on ‘I Did It For You’ or chanting in more exotic north African style as on the Kashmir-gone-folk ‘Girlfriend’. Complimenting Trev’s reigned-in Robert Plant lead vocal, they add a depth to everything they’re involved with. Unfortunately the inconsistency of the album suggests Trev has stumbled on the best stuff as much by accident as design, which is perhaps an unkind thing to level at any songwriter, but the heavy-handed treatment of songs like ‘Is It Greener Now I’m Gone’, with its almost operatic bombast, and album closer, ‘If It Makes You Sad’, takes away from the essence of the songs.

Sometimes then, less is more, but as often as not the full band arrangements do give Trev more room to manoeuvre than he’d have with just voice and acoustic guitar. And compared to past offerings, ‘Guiding Star’ finds him going up in the world.

Dale Kattack
Nightshift May 2006

GUIDING STAR, album review Oxford Bands

'Girls. Huh! What are they good for?' The answer, in Faringdon-based singer-songwriter Trev Williams’ case is simple: backup vocals. The late-of-Manchester folk-rocker has surrounded himself with an Amazonian army of chanteuses, and the combination of Williams’ brilliant harmonic writing and their own technical and expressive gifts conspire to lift many of the tunes on this CD from the level of competent to that of memorable.

That said, there is a lot wrong with the record. Technically, the drum sound is shocking, as if it has been recorded in somebody’s wardrobe (that’s tough on James Dey, whose playing is flawless throughout). There are some catastrophic misjudgements: witness the piece of vocoder drivel at the end of one song which parodies an earlier Williams dud, 'Do You Miss Me?', and an ugly moment in the otherwise excellent 'Girlfriend', in which Williams loudly detunes his guitar in a puny attempt to sound experimental. More importantly, three or four of the ten-song set sound like filler. For example, 'When My Heart Skips a Beat' is anaemic piano rock, while 'If It Makes You Sad' is a colossal bore, being nothing more than a string of meaningless platitudes repeated ad nauseum over some trudging country rock.

But strip away the chaff and there are some gorgeous numbers. My favourite is perhaps the desolate, 'Is It Greener Now I’m Gone?' The song is gothic, in the nineteenth-century sense of the word: a romantic, barrelling piano riff stalks through the texture, as Williams sings of betrayed love: one can almost conjure up pictures of a doomed figure running away from some gargoyle-encrusted mansion, lashed by the elements and the curses of the ghosts trapped inside. This is signified by the astonishing modulation of the backing vocals from placid 'oohs' to shrieking operatic high Cs and culminating in a witching hour snarl. Blood-curdling, and hats off to Hannah Rhodes and Naomi Bullock for pulling off Williams’ ambitious coup.

There’s less sturm und drang in 'I Did It For You', which is quite simply a beautiful, lip-trembling love song. However, it’s far from artless: superb as Williams’ singing is (think a less distanced Cat Stevens), Rhodes’ harmonies are the standout. They are meltingly, almost painfully, beguiling and raise a decent tune into something loveable.

'Cut In Two' is clever prog-rock with the Stevens influence turned up high (for those that don’t know, Stevens could turn 'Three Blind Mice' into a five-act opera), but I prefer Williams in his normal mode of earnest acoustic balladeer rather than math-rock trickster. He is at his best in 'Girlfriend', which seems to be burdened by all the gaucheness, insecurity and pathos of first love. These feelings are evoked by myriad happy touches: the alternation of major and minor key, providing tension and the variation of Williams’ vocal from cracked, high-pitch appealing to conspiratorial mutter. But yet again, the backing singers are the real stars of the song. The strangely beautiful keening at the start is the perfect musical counterpart of the alien quality of women felt by teenage boys, while the lush, crowded breathiness of the girls’ singing in the middle has a genuine, unforced eroticism: you heard that right. Rhodes and Bullock have done what I thought impossible and made Trev Williams’ music sexy.

I sense the austere figure of the editor telling me to wrap up, so in summary: Williams has made a decent album which would have made a great EP. It will be interesting to see whether he can pull these songs off live, in the absence of a viable live band. If so, I hope he brings his singers with him: the petulant, folk rock star thing to do would be to can them all for nearly upstaging him on his own record (think Paul Simon to Art Garfunkel!) but he really shouldn’t. There is enough glory on this CD to go round.

By Colin MacKinnon.
Sunday, 23 April 2006

GUIDING STAR, album review Open View

Opening my monthly review package, was somewhat reminiscent of that Monty Python scene, where Terry Jones announces that the name of the Messiah, come to save humanity, is ‘Brian’, I found that my month’s work would be discussing the magnum opus of a bloke called Trev.

Striking a blow against stage names everywhere, Williams plays acoustic based music but fleshed out with a wealth of instruments effects and performers. With a background split between Manchester and Oxfordshire, and the contrast between the two areas, demonstrates the two strands in William’s song writing. One on hand offering numbers which informed by the gritty-yet-poppy sensibilities of Northern indie, but on the other lush introspective numbers, wish a broad sweep of instrumentation, seeming more indicative of the south-west countryside. ’All the Demons Have Gone’ kicks the album off, with the emphasis squarely on the former of these two influences. It bounces along and up into a catchy-feel good chorus, that could pass for The Coral or a variety of other full bands, rather all being the work of one man. The indie in Williams persona is brought out further in ‘Cut in Two’, it still has the catchy power of the albums opener, but with a bit more bite courtesy of a couple electric guitars. However, while willingness to experiment, is generally a plus point, it here lets Williams down, as the shifts to a clumsy vocoder coda. In other places however the attempt to make something other than just plucked primary chords and lyrical introspection, creates what are perhaps the finest moments on ‘Guiding Star.’ The album sees a trio of female backing singers backing Williams at various points throughout the album, and they are consistently employed intelligently. ‘Girlfriend’ has a captivating counter melody leaving a tension underlying Williams’ verses, which then opens out into a soft soothing chorus. The use of multi-layered vocals works again on the chorus of ‘I did it for you’ creating a sound reminiscent of Bryter Layer era Nick Drake. Even when guitars are exchanged for pianos, with the sombre balladry of ‘Is it greener now I’m gone’, it is the nigh-operatic backing that lifts the song out of the Turin Brakes tepidry.

As it breezes through ten tracks in thirty minutes, the songs of Guiding Star at times run the risk of merging into one another. As it whirls round the various aspects of Williams’ style, the impression is created is one of one long work, with standout flashes of catchy melodies, and clever arranging, rather than of stand-out or weaker tunes. Unfortunately this is both a pro and a con, since while it cohesively switches, from upbeat but edgy, to mellow and melancholy, this same continuity lets the album at times simply pass by. As the album closes with ‘If it makes you feel sad’ rather than creating a fuss about what the last 9 tracks have done, Guiding Star quietly lets itself out the back door, without creating too much fuss.

Open View, Oxford April 2006

MONTH IN MIND interview by Claire McGowan

At just 25, Trev Williams has a wealth of musical experience behind him. He' s been singing since the age of three, playing the guitar and writing songs since he was fourteen. His work has been described as 'hard-hitting.with emotion and energy', and he has recently been running popular song-writing workshops with Mind.

Trev says his song writing is a bit like a diary for him, reflecting his emotions at the time. The result is a great variety of styles emerging from his experiences and moods.

Trev's support for mental health stems from the breakdown he suffered a year after leaving university, where he graduated with First Class honours in popular music and recording. During his illness Trev had to leave his home in Manchester and move back with his parents in Oxfordshire. At this time he was unable to play or write any music: he says the memory of it was just 'too painful'.

Mind day centres, says Trev, played a 'massive part' in his recovery and well-being, and earlier last year he began running music workshops in various projects. Sharing his music with others has been extremely important to him. He says 'I feel privileged to have been able to use my experience of mental health problems, and also my musical experience in a positive way running these workshops'.

Outside of his work with Mind Trev has a busy schedule of gigging round Oxford, and has an album 'Slow Down' on release, which deals with his experiences of mental health and stress. He will also be releasing another album, 'Guiding Star', in April 2006.

A recent project with BYHP in Banbury has shown Trev that through music he can connect to people, especially young men, who may have mental health problems but do not access services.

'I feel passionately about raising awareness of mental health concerns with the general public, and look forward to working with Mind to dispel the stigma that surrounds it.'

by Claire McGowan March 2006


To submit a review click here also see Guiding Star Album on the MESSAGE BOARD, OLD REVIEWS