In this latest upload from Faringdon based singer/songwriter Trev Williams he bravely tackles the subject of government spending cuts within a piano-led melody. The soundcloud recording begins with a painful sounding sneeze and layer upon layer of Williams’ ethereal vocals repeating the portentous title – unfortunately I must say that this messy use of echoes was not the most encouraging start. However when the piano kicks in Williams carries the melody to a soaring climax and the song reaches full potential with the refrain ‘Did you start the fire?’
The lyrics are simple and stripped down but connect to the difficult subject matter as a result of this very quality and no-one could doubt the obvious passion and conviction with which Williams writes and performs. The piano accompaniment appears to be a slight departure from the rest of Williams’ guitar based tracks and videos (check out http://www.trevwilliams.co.uk/frames.html for his fantastic virtual gig complete with snowy backdrop) but these element completely works and on the third or fourth listen something was definitely reminding me of Cold War Kids.
Williams’ vocals are always impressive and have an almost seductive quality in the delivery of the painfully expressive lyrics. I would say however that the track is overpowered by the effects and percussive arrangement that detract from the raw emotional power that such a topical subject matter demands. A watch of Williams performing this song alone at his piano on youtube reveals the brilliant lyrical simplicity of the song and its haunting melody and it would be these features that would spurn me on to go and see Williams perform live and not an echoing sneeze.