Trebor Sor – On My Own

4 out of 5

Label: digital release

Produced by: Robert L. Ross

Trebor Sor’s – i.e. Robert Ross’ – AOR-style vocals and the light 70s prog influence immediately sort of slot ‘On My Own’ into a particular category, and I’ll raise my hand in admitting that I did such slotting and then figured I’d tune out for the remainder of the listen.  But: there’s such a thing as knowing yer strengths when it comes to music, and Ross has chosen to work with his singing range and likely preferred era of song to find his own best version of it.  I was constantly caught out by On My Own twisting in ways unexpected, with the hard rock touches suddenly converted into modern rock flourish, or embellished with horns and vocals in an unexpected but wholly fitting fashion.  Yeah, that AOR-ness remains, and Ross’ lyrics don’t stretch very far (once he finds a phrase he likes, he tends to repeat it), but again, this is all whipped in to shape by the way the songs are composed, making sure the singing is an additional component and not just ’cause we need a singer; that the riffing serves a purpose toward evolving the song and isn’t just ’cause someone likes sounding cool on guitar.

A lot of acts that mine this sort of average-sounding framework never achieve what Trebor Sor does of using it as a framework on which to build.  On My Own may not instantly knock itself out of that pre-slotted position, but none of the tracks on here are dialed in, and every one of them has some nifty turn somewhere, or unique use of drum fills or production to edge it into the spotlight, requiring several more spins to reevaluate and pontificate on not judging a book by its cover and whatnot.