Joshua English got his start by fronting the underrated indie rock band, Six Going On Seven. The band’s fantastic debut, 1997’s Self-Made Mess, still gets a twirl every now and then on my stereo. The band started out with influences like Mission Of Burma and Fugazi. Unfortunately, by their third album, Six Going On Seven had lost much of their power and morphed into an all too familiar pop/rock band. English moved on to front the short-lived band, Attractive, before heading off into the solo sunset. Trouble None marks English’s solo debut.
I love how quickly Trouble None gets in and out. Thirteen songs in barely 30 minutes is how it should be done. Aesthetically, I am reminded of Walter Schreifel‘s band Walking Concert. Much like Walking Concert’s Run To Be Born album, Trouble None plays out as an eclectic mixture of styles and genres. Often on Trouble None, English sounds remarkably like an abbreviated Ted Leo. English’s adventurous songwriting is actually not far behind Ted Leo. English is able to show off that same dynamic quality as a front man but his songs offer the brevity that Leo sometimes loses sight of. On the fuller instrumental tracks like “This Death Is Easy” the power pop of a band like The Posies comes to mind. However, much of Trouble None is highlighted by just an acoustic guitar and English’s endearing vocals. Where that might not work for lesser talents, the display put forth on Trouble None is quite impressive.
Joshua English is certainly a singer/songwriter to take note of. With Trouble None, he has built the framework for an exciting solo future with no band tying him down. The art of the smart two minute pop song has been lost for far too long. English is trying his best on Trouble None to rekindle that spirit and for the most part he succeeds at a very high level.
RIYL: Ted Leo, The Posies, Walking Concert