Sound — 8
Trever Keith's debut solo effort Melancholics Anonymous has everything that you enjoyed about '80s electro-pop, '90s alternative rock, and 2000s punk with symphonic fringes. Trever Keith comes from the long running melodic punk band Face To Face, which he fronted in the 1990s and early 2000s. He has branched off on his own with Melancholics Anonymous. Produced by Trever Keith and Chad Blinman, the album is another appendage of this dynamic duo who joined forces a few years ago to form the electro-pop unit The Legion Of Doom. The Legion Of Doom were responsible for remixing several songs on the soundtrack to last year's movie Resident Evil: Extinction, like Flyleaf's I'm So Sick and Aiden's One Love. Trever's solo album shows that there is another level to this team. There are tracks on Melancholics Anonymous that relate to the synth-pop of Nik Kershaw, the alternative rock magma of Tantric and Days Of The New, and the symphonic soaring punk of AFI. Trever Keith's use of electronic rods piercing through numbers like Pushover and Cross Your Heart And Hope To Die hold up the tracks posture and keep the carpet of swirling chords suspended, while the tentacles of melodic synths are seamed with an orchestral syntax in Half Asleep constructing a cosmic rock texture relatable to Hundred Year Storm. There is a dreamy quality in Trever Keith's music with an artillery of melodic tones, ethereal escapes, and fluxing motions held suspended while in flight. The sonic patterns move like a trapeze artist in a circus ring, building the intensity for the audience and then releasing the tension on the exhales. Trevor Keith does this brilliantly in the song Bleeding Out. Other songs seem like folk songs embellished with fluorescent synths, an airy bounty of strings, and prismatic guitar chords which entangle and split apart along the rolling frames of Say Goodbye Again and the introspective circling of the title track. These are songs that could have been done with an acoustic guitar and vocals alone, but the embellishments make them sparkle brightly like an electro-rock symphony. The final track Shine Box is a palatable cocktail of swirling psychedelics in the synth patterns as Trever's voice arches over the dreamscapes with a god-like resonance. The album touches on the past while keeping its feet planted in contemporary times, and yet, Trever Keith does not live on the borderline of anything, he jumps right into the thick of it in Melancholics Anonymous.
Lyrics — 8
There is a prevalent theme in the song lyrics that portray private relationships as a messy business. The words describe being in a relationship means taking on a lot of baggage from your partner and it's stuff that is always difficult to understand. The lyrics for Bleeding Out depicts this concept, I could never care enough / I could never give enough / I could never bleed enough to please you / You need everything. Other times, the lyrics describe someone who would prefer to ignore the rifts in the relationship and act like everything is okay like in the song Half Asleep as Trever Keith's vocals chime, Are you awake or am I talking to myself? / Because I was hoping you weren't listening / You're such a fake and I don't know if I can tell / I wish that I could fall asleep again. But sometimes, the lyrics enforce a positive self-image and inner strength like in the title track, Melancholics Anonymous as Trever intones, I will come back to my senses / I will try and start again / It's almost like I never even took a single step / I thought that I was getting somewhere I hadn't even left / I'll be OK, I will be saved / I will put myself together / I will come up with a plan... I will remember what I'm made of / I will turn it all around.
Overall Impression — 8
There may not be much about Trever Keith's music that sounds new when you compare his album to the likes of Midge Ure or modern day's Hundred Year Storm, but Melancholics Anonymous is one of the most palatable albums that you may ever experience. Once you start the album, you may never feel inclined to skip a track or fast forward through the gates to something that you like. All of the tracks are likeable. The endless sonic falls, melodic rapids, dreamy gorges, electronic plumes, and phantom chasms in the tracks have an instant appeal that does not induce melancholia like the album title might suggest, but quite the opposite. The music of Trever Keith has an imagination that is filled with voluminous sonic escapes and a lyrical punk style funneled in symphonic waves that are reminiscent of the remixes made by The Legion Of The Doom, but tailored to Keith's vocal pitch and choreography.