There Was Lightning

Trevor And The Joneses

Independent release, 2012

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


In the era of ProTools, American Idol, and Autotune, it’s inspiring to know that garage rock continues to inspire. That is, a group of friends gathers in a back room, a garage, a dimly lit cavern and simply plays music. Not necessarily for fame (although that would be nice) and not necessarily for girls (although they will show up eventually), but for the love of music, the cathartic release of emotion and exuberance that rock and roll has always been about.

There have been countless garage bands over the last 30 years alone; the genre started up again in the ‘80s with L.A.’s Paisley Underground and a number of left-of-the-dial bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. The grunge movement carried this forward into the ‘90s along with bands like Pavement, and then it seemingly died out as hip-hop culture, nu-metal, and boy bands took over.

But the music never left. It simply went back to the garage, the clubs, the basements, where devoted fans and passionate musicians played their hearts out. And there are times where this no-bullshit approach is welcome, which is why we turn our attention to Trevor Jones and his band on this Friday.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The five-piece throws a couple of curveballs into the garage rock mix, namely a) a tambourine player and b) two 12-string guitars, which are played more for fullness of sound than any sort of Byrds folk-rock revival. The music is garage rock with a healthy dose of Britpop and psychedelia; think Pavement with a combination Liam Gallagher/ Iggy Pop singing, and you’ll get the general idea.

Jones wrote the songs on his own while living in California and, like many first-time artists, doesn’t quite succeed in finding a cohesive voice, for those who care about such things. But the music is free of pretension. It’s fun, introspective, and always engaging. Witness the ‘60s throwback “It’s Getting Early” and the blues-rock stomp of “It’s Exhausting,” which sounds like a modern take on the Stooges’ classic Fun House album.

“A Familiar Way” and “Other Things” have that Oasis influence and sound like the work of journeymen rockers, not a kid just starting out in the business (as of this writing, the band has played about 60 shows and is starting work on the second album, which will reportedly be more of a group effort). “Show Yourself” is a 10 minute slow burner, trading undersung psychedelic verses with liquid guitar solos and retaining a hypnotic power that proves Jones’ depth.

“Superslow” is a lesser effort along the same lines as “Show Yourself;” on another album, it would provide a good set piece, but no garage rock album needs two 10 minute guitar epics. Only Led Zeppelin could get away with that. “Reality’s Mine” and “Dig This!” are fine, if unremarkable, and “Sneak” is notable only for the Lou Reed/Iggy Pop-esque spoken vocals. A couple of points deducted for whoever mixed the album and decided to wash out Jones’ voice with echo, especially on “A Familiar Way,” where the cavernous sound on his words undercuts the personal nature of the lyrics.

But these are minor quibbles. Download or stream the highlights and, if you like what you hear, get the rest of the album. There Was Lightning is the work of a nascent songwriter (and a band) who deserves to go places, especially in a fabricated musical landscape, and it’s definitely worth exploring for the garage rocker in you.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2013 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent release, and is used for informational purposes only.