Throwing us about with its vicious grooves in one moment only to retreat into a staggered drone of the most entrancing variety in the next, “Alice” isn’t the sort of pop single that takes a couple of minutes to find its groove – it’s got something sexy to cling to right out of the gate, and Trevor Drury isn’t about to restrict its output in this all-new release.
I’ve been following Drury’s career as a fan for the better part of the last four years, and while he’s never been one to back down from compositional challenges in the past, I think there’s something really special about the tonal predicaments he irrefutably puts himself in between the start and finish of “Alice.” The hook is seemingly oversized for a singer of his style, while the percussion bears down on him like a wild animal sizing up its dinner plate – it’s what happens after we press the play button that ultimately proves this guy is one of the brightest indie-pop singer/songwriters around. He defiantly steps into the biggest and boldest of melodies whilst controlling the tempo with his voice in this performance, inevitably demonstrating a talent few of his rivals can claim to match on their own.
These lyrics appear to have been specifically designed to accommodate a virtuosic attack from the singer, but at the same time, I think it’s a little difficult to say for certain which came first here – words or the musical nature through which they’re conveyed to us. Drury has definitely shown himself to be intrigued more by complexities than conventionalities in a lot of the work he released during the 2010s, and it’s possible that what he’s constructed here is more or less an extension of a compositional persona he established back at the start of his career. The bassline doesn’t provoke any of the swing here; it’s all percussion, which leaves him a lot of space to develop the mood of the verses with his singing, as opposed to resting that chore on the shoulders of the backend alone. To be fair, nothing could ever trump his vocal in the grander scheme of things (at least when left unchecked by both the mix and the girth of the band behind him), and this track is indeed a testament to his strengths as a leading man more than anything else.
Trevor Drury has yet to lose my attention or fall short of sparking some excitement in me as a critic with his content over the years, and I can say wholeheartedly that “Alice” only sees his skillset getting better than it already was. His conceptualism as an artist is becoming harder for him to leave unexploited, and by working subtle progressive components into his sound, I think he’s going to develop a more unique place in the pop hierarchy than any of his contemporaries could hope to do in 2021. This is going to be a big year for indie music, and players like him are the reason why.