I’m not much of a Valentine’s Day guy. It’s all too gushy and sweet and more than a bit forced. But I’m not ashamed to admit I’m totally smitten with Trevor Blendour’s new long player, the holiday appropriately-titled Falling in Love. Take Buddy Holly, tweak it with those early 1960s American pop vocal motifs, add a bit of millennial indie sheen, and you’ve got a completely addictive collection of earwormy tunes, each clocking in at just 2-3minutes max. Appearing as The Blendours on previous albums the sound was bit more punky but in this new guise as a solo artist Trevor Treiber (now aka Blendour) simply embraces his love all things 1950s/early 1960s. And the results are a magical mix of retro lead guitar runs, swooping overlapping vocal lines, and melodic hooks galore.
For the most part the formula here is alternative-universe American Graffiti. In the movie the leftover 1950s themes bleed into the early 1960s, as cultural referents are wont to do, and that’s the broad landscape hovering in the background of this record. Sometimes it’s a straight up fifties time trip, as on “A Paradise,” a track that hybridizes classic Elvis and Buddy Holly vocal phrasing and song styles. It’s there again on album opener “Don’t Mean Maybe” with a combo of rockabilly and doo wop elements. With “Falling in Love” the frame of reference shifts a bit to all those early 1960s teen idols. There there’s the post-Holly Crickets reeling and rocking sound all over “Carly Please.” Another classic early sixties style can be found on “Win Back That Girl,” this time the tragic feel reminiscent of ‘disaster’ rock. Things move a bit more into the mid-1960s on “Tough Guy” with its Beach Boys falsetto vocals and “Rena” which has a Beatles “Things We Said Today” rhythm guitar swing. Not that everything here is retro. Treiber’s pop punk instincts come more to the fore on tracks like “Lost The Girl,” “Gloria” and “Another Guy,” though with the rough edges smoothed out a bit. “Cold Heart” sounds very 1979 rock and roll revival in a Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds sort of way. But for me, Blendour saves the best for last with the should-be hit single “Him Instead of Me.” This track reminds me of the way the Beatles put a bit of rock and roll muscle into all the fifties rock and girl group covers they sprinkled throughout their first few albums.
Unlike romantic love a great record will never let you down. This year, make a date with Trevor Blendour’s Falling in Love for Valentine’s Day. It’s cheaper than a dinner out, has a timeless quality that will never age, and is guaranteed to greet you with buoyant enthusiasm every time you turn it on.