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Trent Miller and the Skeleton Jive - Cerberus

  by Mark Rowland

published: 10 / 11 / 2009

Trent Miller and the Skeleton Jive - Cerberus
Label: Hangman Records
Format: CD


Gothic-in-tone Americana on first-rate debut album from London-based act, Trent Miller and the Skeleton Jive

Despite having a slightly a rubbish name, Trent Miller and the Skeleton Jive evoke the sounds of several decades of raw, direct music. There is a gothic tinge to Miller’s songs, with frequent references to hanging, fires, demons and blood, but there is a sweetness to many of his melodies that softens the blow. On record at least, the Skeleton Jive don’t really exist – this is all Miller, his guitar, vocals and harmonica. Miller’s vocal delivery is something like a cross between Bob Dylan, and Johnny Cash – shaky, low and nasal. He is also frequently compared to Guy Kyser from Paisley underground band Thin White Rope, and has been praised by TWR’s ML Compton. Occasionally, he brings 'Nebraska' era Springsteen to mind. He is not the most technically gifted of singers, but his voice is one of his strengths, lending his songs an emotional punch to go with his vivid imagery. The highlights of the album are the points where Miller most successfully marries his dark poetry with a sweet and effecting melody, and thankfully, those moments are frequent. ‘Secret Fires’, ‘Coyote’, ‘Bones of Milk’, ‘Little Queen of Hearts’, ‘Scream Your Last Scream’, ‘Once under the Dusty Hills’ and ‘Calvary Mountains; all have immediate and strangely uplifting melodies considering the gothic subject matter, but ‘Tombstone Eyes’ wins outright with its Cash-style melodic guitar line to match its vocal hooks.

Track Listing:-
1 Dark River
2 Secret Fires
3 Coyote
4 Bones of Milk
5 Hangman Shore
6 Callous Heart
7 Little Queen of Hearts
8 Scream Your Last Scream
9 Tombstone Eyes
10 Once Upon the Dusty Hills
11 Moon Bog Party
12 Calvary Mountains
13 Hellbound Train
14 Six Feet Under

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