added: 17 May 2014
// release date: 14 Apr 2014 // label: Bucketfull of Brains Records
reviewer: Nigel Cartner
Trent Miller, born and raised in Turin, Italy yet came to London to seek his fame, fortune and follow his creative muse at all costs. It must have been one hell of a journey if he’s adopted the concept of ‘singing about what you know’ has been instilled on his latest and third offering, Burnt Offerings. Dark and mystical poetic lyrics, passionate delivery, all blended with dreamy yet shadowy melodies make Miller such a unique force in what can be described as twisted and edgy folk.
Burnt Offerings is a continuation of the tone set in his first two releases, ‘Cerberus’ in 2009, and ‘Welcome To Inferno Valley’ in 2011, but on this recording his voice has been described as being “more assured while the music is less rustic and more arranged with a greater emphasis on electric guitar and pedal steel.” Miller’s admiration for Gene Clark is apparent as the former ‘Bryds’ man is etched into various nooks and crannies throughout the album.
Songs such as the opener, Burnt Offerings, Lupita Dream and, Sands of Time carry the dark, gothic, and melodious themes, conveyed by a rousing vocal that suits the uneasy tone, made more inventive by the slightest hint of his Italian accent that graces us every so often. The striking echo of the fender is one that adds a layer of edginess as it merges with lyrics that are wrapped in the mysticism that engrosses Miller’s educated mind.
Your Black Heart, and Pictures From a Different World are a little more upbeat, carrying a sixties foray, almost like a darker Beach Boys or Byrds. The harmonica and strings play a part in invoking an emotive dimension on songs like Boulevard of Souls and Hearts on a Wire which is a gentle, countrified Americana tune that’s reminiscent of its old wild west. Images of rocking chairs on porches staring out onto open land are immediately felt. What Colour is the Night is a personal favourite and the only real indication of Miller’s Mediterranean roots due to its tinge of slow Hispanic acoustic guitar coupled with a wonderfully plucked emotive electric guitar that gives the song a very dreamy aspect.
This is Trent Miller’s most ambitious project to date, being more modern and electric orientated with the backing of talented musicians, Graham Knight (bass, piano, backing vocals), Steve Brookes (drums), Barbara Bartz (violin) and guests Ben Walker (electric guitar) and Paul Cuddleford (electric guitar and lap steel). With previous backing from the likes of Cerys Matthews on BBC 6 Music, I’m sure this will be a suitable addition to the collection of those who favour the darker side of folk. Burnt Offerings was released on 14th April and is described as “the unravelling of doomed love sacrificed at the alter back in ancient times.”
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