Review Summary: Nothing groundbreaking, just an accessible indie-pop debut EP executed with the style and grace of a seasoned musician.
Trent Hancock’s music has been described as a combination of folk, rock, and indie-pop. While he certainly appears to embody all of these genres in some
fashion, his debut EP Ghostbird
definitely shows a strong preference for the latter…and even that description is light on the indie and heavy on the pop. Excellent but simple songwriting is combined with flawless production to create an album that may not be wholly original, but thrives on a polished sound that paints the picture of an artist who is bursting at the seams with mainstream potential.
is by no means an indie
album in terms of the style that the genre indie-pop
implies – instead it is sleek, it is refined, and it goes down smoother than medicine and a spoonful of sugar. The opening track “Falling Faster” makes an immediate case for Hancock’s pop sensibility and tune sense, with an absurdly catchy but heartfelt chorus of “I need to know, cause I’m falling faster / Fallin’ faster all the time / Might never reach what I’m chasing after / But who’s to say I can’t try?
" The lyrics may be riddled with clichés, but they are also very relatable, and the emotion exuding from Hancock’s vocals make some of those worn ideas feel new again. Ghostbird
mostly follows in the footsteps of “Falling Faster”, as songs like “Me and You” and “Lost My Way” continue to demonstrate this young musician’s knack for creating elegant, refined pop songs that do just enough to satisfy the listener’s yearning for a true indie or folk experience.
From an instrumental standpoint, Ghostbird
is nothing to write home about – simple acoustic strumming is what drives most of the tracks, with the occasional string section or emphasized drum beat to highlight an emotional moment in the music or a particularly sentimental section of lyrics. “Strong Hands” portrays these qualities the most, and it also executes them better than any other song on the EP manages to. A pitter-patter drum beat kicks things off along with some subtle acoustic picking, before Hancock’s wide-ranged vocals once again become the central focus, allowing his soothing, sensitive serenades to lead the way to a climactically soulful chorus. Following it up is a swelling violin that captures the importance of the moment. A gimmick? Perhaps…but it is one that is executed skillfully and tastefully on “Strong Hands”, just as it is on all of Ghostbird
Trent Hancock is not reinventing the wheel on his debut EP, and that most likely was never his intention. Ghostbird
should be observed as a sample platter of what this young artist has to offer, from the minor traces of folk and indie to what appears to be his natural forte: restrained, atmospheric pop. This EP will almost certainly strike a chord with you somewhere over the course of the six tracks…Hancock’s superb songwriting and heart-on-his-sleeve lyrics are just too relatable not
to hit home at least once. Sure, he appears to be taking the less artistic, poppy
road to fame – but that is no reason to condemn his efforts. He is good at what he does, and there appears to be plenty more where Ghostbirds
came from. Furthermore, he is developing his indie-pop sound with class and musical maturity, something that will only earn him respect…even if he one day finds himself at the center of the mainstream music scene.