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.
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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