• Article by: Jason O’Toole
  • Posted: 08/22/2011

Welcome to the enchanting musical melodramas of Nashville artist SPELLS. With his debut album, Escapist, Trevor Tillery (SPELLS) is officially letting his electronic, indie rock presence be known.

Escapist opens with a somber-toned symphonic love letter. It’s both a tonal and thematic welcome mat, as the album carries messages of searching and waiting throughout. SPELLS also drops subtle allusions to a sense of spiritual searching – “I’ve gotta reach/ In the midst of all this pain/ I’ve gotta reach high/ separated in a great divide,” which you can take or leave from the former RAINING AND OK frontman.

Gliding on a healthy alto and breathy falsetto compliment, this electronic artist stands in contrast to the often acoustic-heavy Nashville indie scene. However, in trading guitar for a wide sample of synths, SPELLS still upholds the consistency of Nashville’s musical integrity.

When SPELLS does use guitar, he still tries pushing the limits of what innovative sounds like. Drawing from small doses of Coldplay’s X&Y, Radiohead and some Phoenix vocal tendencies, SPELLS is staying within the traditions of off-brand electronic music.

Throughout the album, SPELLS’ lyrical capabilities could perhaps be a bit more allegorical, just to match the music. He gets it right; however, in the bittersweet ponderings of “Hi/Lo,” where he details a sort of day-in-the-life wandering about town. The album flows well and keeps you going.

The songs themselves deliver age-old messages without a real answer, but the connection and music creates a genuine tone, which is felt by anyone questioning something in their own life.

SPELLS’ six-song effort isn’t always happy but frequently inspires a world of hope or at least the idea of something greater. It takes you from soft to heavy in a single-track change. “Hi/Lo” is delicate and easy, while “Where Have You Been,” enters like something Guy Ritchie would smack in the end credits of a Snatch sequel.

Escapist ends with the quirky incantation, “Transient,” where SPELLS rests on the tagline “I live in a temporary world.”

Overall, SPELLS has almost completely nailed it. He has the dynamic to be musically heroic while capturing an intimate enough vocal to stay poignant.

Download three free songs from SPELLS at briterevolution.com/artists/spells

"Escapist Teaser" - SPELLS

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