Trevor Montgomery works as a tile setter during the day, putting down his music at night. Those periods of concentration and labour in the daylight hours probably fuel his imagination, his doubts, and when he returns home he can sketch his own landscapes, scribble down his inner thoughts and record songs that sound as beautiful as they do solemn, soulful and at times deeply heart-breaking.
Navigated Like the Swan is Montgomery’s debut under the Young Moon moniker (he previously released The Trickster (St. Ives) album under his own name). Maybe it’s got something to do with the name Trevor but Montgomery certainly has the touch for stirring up nostalgia much like Youth Lagoon’s Trevor Powers.
I can hear echoes of Springsteen’s Nebraska in tracks like the beautifully lonesome March. The transparent acoustic strums and warmly melancholic synth lines create a widescreen sound for Montgomery’s lowly and aching vocal. These songs are often cyclical, rarely lifting their heads for a climactic pay-off, instead wandering through Montgomery’s memories in search of some form of closure.
Not many tracks here go beyond a stagger or a sway, the beats (provided by a vintage drum machine) are like warning timers counting the seconds, minutes and hours of lost love. The double vocals on the stunning Wind’s Light give Montgomery’s baritone a companion to share his pain. The need for reciprocated love has rarely sounded so real.
This is like pop music slowed and sunk into a cavernous archive. The keyboards, drum machines and guitars sound distant through the reverb coating. It only adds to a record spilling with ambience, atmosphere and, most importantly, very good songs.