Last year Trevor Jones lead singer of Miracle Mile took the plunge and released a solo lp "Hopeland" under his own name. This was prompted by a change in approach to writing and the more reflective nature of the songs , some of which were spoken word, poems set to music. I raved about it here. Well it seems the long school holiday for Miracle Mile is lasting a bit longer as he has recorded a follow up lp "Keepers"
It really does feel like a sister lp of "Hopeland" with again spoken word pieces along side reflective songs. Although this time the prompting is a sense of loss rather than a sense of hope.
For me there are a three key differences with the 2 lps, firstly this time the power of the spoken pieces comes less from a sense of simplicity and more from being immersed in a short story. The backing to these tracks again perfectly walks the tightrope of supporting and enhancing the mood without distracting from the words.
Secondly there is more a sense of flexing the recording muscles as far as the backing tracks go , and as a result the lp is full of small stand out moments , the hand claps on folding sheets the backing vocals on In Your Eye and the beautiful almost classical guitar solo of I deny. The use of acoustic guitar , piano and slide guitar mean these moments really shine. It is one of those lps that gives pleasure in the smallest things
Thirdly part of the this muscle flexing sees a number of the songs augmented by some fantastic orchestration from Miracle Mile partner Marcus Cliffe. I suspect the cost of getting an orchestra in means that these sounds are from a machine, if this is the case never has a machine sounding so warm and immersed in the mood of each song. For me these are the real highlights of Keepers and why much as I loved Hopeland ,this is the better lp.
There is also a comforting sense of familiarity in some of the themes and images linking Keepers with Hopeland and the more personal Miracle Mile songs, the search for blue skies, the memories of a white dog to the extent that there is a stripped down cover of the Miracle Mile song Papillon
Finally somehow Marcus Cliffe's production has created an intimate personal sound that is pin sharp. Even on my crappy car stereo I almost found myself looking at the passenger seat expecting to see Trevor with guitar doing an in car performance
I've not posted any tracks because I simply think if you have liked anything you heard on Miracle Mile Monday , you should buy the lp which you can preorder here