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William Topley
Sea Fever
Atlantic Records

The soft, soothing sound of William Topley's voice has lulled me to a peaceful place many a time, and on his latest record, Sea Fever, Topley's voice continues to do just that. This record finds Topley purveying the same kind of casual blues that his fans have come to expect, but he changes things up a bit, creating more bright tones in some of the songs than he has previously. "High On The Rhythm" is a perfect example of this phenomenon. The song is somewhat lifted from the classic "High On The Mountain Of Love" melodically, but Topley energizes the song with a jumpy barroom swing that is infectious. Piano and drums jangle and dance around each other in a way that makes for some of the most enjoyable moments of rock since the 1950s. The title track is a dirgey acoustic guitar based song that immediately reminds of Topley's days fronting The Blessing. The song is eerily familiar in its shanty-style shuffle, and the perfect guitar playing of Mark Knopfler nicely compliments Topley's deep, musty voice. Without hesitation, I can say that this song is worth the price of the record on its own. Bringing the record back into the up-tempo, "Someone Else" is another catchy tune that will have your toes tapping in no time. Topley's voice drops to new lows, reminiscent of the most tuneful moments of Tom Waits, on "Handle With Care". This song is beautifully full, piano and acoustic guitars carrying the body of music and providing a solid footing for the deep vocals and marvelous songwriting. "Handle with care she told me/ my haol can't take too much more/ the sun is half up its bedtime/ I'm taking you back to your door".

Sea Fever finds Topley's songwriting at its most mature and complex. His poetry is vibrant and sensational. These songs would be amazing even with only a basic, stark accompaniment because of the lyricism, but the music is arranged so perfectly that it nicely compliments every moment and mood of the record. Whether you are a fan of William Topley or not, this record is well worth a listen. Brilliant songs and a brilliant voice leads to nothing short of a great record.

-L. Keane

Track Listing:
1. Step Inside
2. Paramount 1009
3. High on the Rhythm
4. Sea Fever
5. Someone Else
6. Handle With Care
7. Michigan Life
8. I Will Be There
9. Five Days a Week
10. Whipping Boy
11. Berber Gold

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