A 22-year-old guy from Illinois, Trevor Sensor released his first, neatly-named Texas Girls and Jesus Christ EP back in March. It was a soulful, stripped down singer-songwriter kind of collection consisting mostly of just him with a piano and/or guitar. Starved Nights of Saturday Stars is his most recent music endeavour that came out earlier this month and is a complete reversal in style: a rowdy, folky, catchy, punk rock-infused little collage.
Let me get something straight out of the way first: nobody loves quirky boys with androgynous (he sounds like a divinely disfigured hybrid of Billie Holiday and Tom Waits), gravelly, drunken sailor type vocals like I do. The only thing is, I like them accompanied by a rock-solid, candid core. Trevor Sensor has an abundance of the former to offer, but there’s not one iota of the latter.
Starved Nights of Saturday Stars is really fun and easy to listen to – the songs are nicely arranged, dynamic, short and sweet; and thoroughly enjoyable – as long as you occasionally phase out the lyrics, that is. Sensor delves into the topics of alcoholism, crushed dreams and hopelessness with the poetic sensibility of a teenager who’s just discovered Bukowsky and is desperately trying to embody Henry Chinaski, but without the actual life experience.
On ‘Another Night in Lamppost Lounge’, for example, he goes “The youth are all upstairs dancing (you’re 22, Trevor) "and I’m down at the basement bar shamefully weeping into my white Russian…if I drink enough of them I will transform into the holy Jeff Bridges – all bearded and blessed.” He belts on and on about cheap vodka-induced stupors while relentlessly painting himself as a lonely, penniless, martyred barfly who’s “seen it all”, which gets tiring after four or five references in the space of 30 seconds.
I’m lashing out though. Once you get past all the cringy moments, you do see what a gorgeous voice Sensor possesses and how precise, aware and in control of it he is. Unlike the lyrics, his vocals sound aged decades beyond his years. The songs are incredibly tuneful and catchy as well – listen to ‘When Tammy Spoke to Martha’ once and it’ll stick in your head for the rest of the week, you’ll see. Sensor is a very talented and skilful musician and I’d give life a good few years to rough him up a little so he’d have a bit more meat to work with, lyrically speaking. I’m more than sure we’ll hear of him a lot in the future.
6Eva Mackevic's Score