As if Spoon River and the Royal Mountain Band weren’t enough, British Columbia musician Tavis E. Triance’s latest reinvention finds himself attached to The Natural Way, a new band and concept that successfully showcases the artist’s dedication to emotionalism, poetry, songwriting craftsmanship, and tender longing (with the odd and endearing humorous aside.)
While generous traces of Nobel Prize big cheese Bob Dylan are evident in his work, it’s as if Trance took the same ladle George Harrison used deep for songs like “All Those Years Ago” and “When We Was Fab” as he dipped into the Beatles cauldron, adding just a pinch of Kurt Vile and came up with the potion for “Uncle Elsewhere.” Imagine the Beatles jamming with Vile at a funeral and enjoy as you listen with maudlin joy at the ghostly passing of a family member and an out-of-sobriety eulogy, fitting to such a (seemingly) eccentric individual.
Triance’s version of a ballad “Queen” is soft, slow kiss slide down Triance’s lilting romance roller coaster. It’s all about settling down with the right one rendered in mid-movie montage hymn for a rom-com movie that will never be filmed. Triance, ever the poet maudit, literally sets up his daggers inside of him, as the lyrics suggests.
Where does this sound fit into 2018? The answer is, like Michael Douglas’s cellphone and housecoat from Wall Street. It fits. Like a hilarious meme reminding us of a time that no longer exists, perhaps only in those escapades and foxholes when we find a song we cannot recall but are enthralled in regardless. It can be said in all honesty: this is music: there are chords, words, rhythms, longing, heartbreak, nuance and a verdict. These songs are not like something you’d hear otherwise; but you are hearing it. And it sounds louder than everything around it in the moment of now because these songs, stacked up against the now of 2018 are a complete anomoly.
Halfway through “OK, What Next” is the albums supercharged answer to The Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” a song which has dregs of Trance’s last incarnation Spoon River. These slow-dragging daredevil vocals and beautiful sunset harmonies immediately followed by upstart guitars and keyboards keeps the party going as dust arrives.
A distant cousin of an Elvis Costello neurotic “Bye-Bye to the Wicked One” is a tender lovelorn number heavy on the blues infusion. This isn’t an album imagining itself rendered in MTV music video choreography, or featured during the credit scrawl of the latest Fast and The Furious, but that certainly doesn’t mean it wouldn’t happen. A Brief Respite From The Terror Of Dying lulls and hangs in the psyche like a sweet vinyl barbecue that never ends. Call Triance the missing link to a few generations of songwriters that you may have on your iPod right now and you may end up liking him as much as his influences. But in a world of completely modern, present tense and live, there is something extremely palpable in believing in the efforts an artist who seemingly is not influenced by anything he hasn’t found at a dusty garage sale, where someone who for whatever reason, has had to say goodbye to something they once loved more than anything on Earth.
(Tonic Records, 230 C – 196 West 3rd Ave., Vancouver, BC Canada V5Y 1E9)