Single Review: Maverick Sabre – ‘I Need’

“Even though he’s still a far cry from his idols, you can’t deny that ‘I Need’ is a valiant step in the right direction”

3 STARS

Digital Release: November 6, 2011

Physical Release: N/A

Maverick Sabre’s sudden whoosh of hype rather uncannily resembled that of a many typical Radio 2-aimed acts. At first there was talk, then Jools Holland, then the first single, and a minute, splutter of success. And then there was nothing. Alas, the Anglo-Irish singer’s music may have resonated with opulent synths and shimmering melodies akin to the mighty Cee-Lo Green, there was little about ‘Let Me Go’ that actually delivered what it’s sparkling hi-gloss ambitions promised. Cee-Lo wears a suit; Maverick dons causal wear. But while his comparatively bantamweight soul-pop did possess all the tools needed to innovate a practically dead concept of popular music (so confined it could accomodate only the partial success of even Cee-Lo) it’s sad to see him merely wallowing in self-misery rather than actually exerting any effort in other avenues that would otherwise help authenticate his sorrows. As well as not stacking up well in the music corner, his rusty vocal can often be perceived as soulful, but with introverted, deadpan lyrics he lacks the same ecstatic rasp of Cee-Lo’s and doesn’t appear to have the ability to smoothly croon – a non-negotiable imperative for singers in his genre, surely? He does a good impression of Donald Duck though.

‘Let Me Go’ was a bit of a warm-up; one of those upbeat melancholy songs whose happiness was in it’s self-efficacy to change the luck of it’s hard-done-by singer. Now we’re on to ‘I Need’, his second trailer single for ‘Lonely Are The Brave’. It seems this time he’s gone in with metaphorical guns blazing. Some aged record crackling through the song, distant, dissonant strings and a modest little drum loop for him to sing along to. It all works well to set the deeply despondent tone for Maverick, but it’s foiled by his unnecessary persistence to draw out his lyrics in an irritating staccato form. The would-be easy-on-the-ears vocal melodies are quashed by his awkward blipping. 

Things become comprehensible in the chorus, where we’re granted the ability to actually hear his lyrics without getting the feeling he’s wandering aimlessly through strings and guitar, not quite sure whereabouts in the metre he is. At this point, a lot of his remorse almost immediately snaps into sense and his bluesy undertones succeed in both being reflective and profound. Things start to lose their form and the brilliance starts to dim when we found ourselves in the maze of the verse again, mainly because of his refusal to sing more than one note to each syllable and his penchant for pointless melodic enjambments. But even though he’s still a far cry from his idols, you can’t deny that ‘I Need’ is worthy of the second glance ‘Let Me Go’ simply couldn’t command. It feels like he’s finally learning to hone his musical skills with this valiant step in the right direction.

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