Sea Fever

Sea Fever

by William Topley
     
 

After a three-year hiatus, U.K. songwriter William Topley eases back onto the scene with Sea Fever, a collection of 11 new tunes, one of which, "Sea Fever," incorporates its lyrics from a poem of the same name by John Masefield. Topley's greatest tool is his rich, soulful, gritty baritone, and he's in wonderful voice here. Using the same core of musicians whoSee more details below

Overview

After a three-year hiatus, U.K. songwriter William Topley eases back onto the scene with Sea Fever, a collection of 11 new tunes, one of which, "Sea Fever," incorporates its lyrics from a poem of the same name by John Masefield. Topley's greatest tool is his rich, soulful, gritty baritone, and he's in wonderful voice here. Using the same core of musicians who have been with him since the 1990s -- guitarist Luke Brighty, drummer Jim Kimberly, bassist James Eller, and keyboardist Mark Taylor -- Topley turns in an inspired, consistent performance that crosses genres of rock, folk, country-rock, and rootsy, soul-inflected pop. The tunes here all reflect the notion of rootlessness in America, whether it be as a result of broken love, alienation, restlessness, or malaise. In these songs, movement keeps emotions hovering about like ghosts, the broken, empty protagonists that inhabit them barely a step ahead of them, looking back cautiously or regretfully, looking forward without a defined sense of purpose. Check the shimmering high lonesome slippery rock of "Someone Else," where the singer travels an anonymous highway with thoughts of his beloved, now absent and being made love to by another, and all he can do is keep moving. On the title track acoustic guitars propel the singer toward the depths of his loneliness as it is born by the sea, turning him into a ragged vagabond. There's a unspeakable wildness in the cut as Mark Knopfler's electric guitar growls like the untamed elements as they swirl about the narrative. On "Michigan Life," Topley's character is a loner who takes in the street life from Detroit to Chicago on the road that connects them both, Michigan Avenue, seeing the broken emerge from the shadows and return there. The guitars wrangle with distorted chords and knife-edge riffs as piano, organ, and drums punch out a rhythm track that seemingly marks the miles. The weariness in his voice is buoyed by his unwillingness to settle for anything less than total disappearance into, and union with, the road itself. This is a fine rock album in the singer/songwriter vein with excellent melodies, poetic lyrics, crafty, empathetic musicianship, and a haunted sensibility throughout. If ever there were a case for the singer/songwriter genre in the 21st century as a viable creative force, Sea Fever, Topley's finest album yet, is it.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/21/2005
Label:
Warner Bros Mod Afw
UPC:
0093624938224
catalogNumber:
49382
Rank:
232604

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

William Topley   Primary Artist,Vocals
James Eller   Bass Guitar
Mark Knopfler   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Dominic Miller   Guitar,Keyboards
Mark Taylor   Organ,Piano
Marcus Cliffe   Bass
Colin Vearncombe   Acoustic Guitar
Chris Sheehan   Background Vocals
Mike Westergaard   Bass,Piano
Johnson Somerset   Synthesizer
Luke Brighty   Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Electric Guitar,Harp
Jim Kimberley   Percussion,Drums
Diego Kovadlof   Bass
Dorie Jackson   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Jill Sobule   Composer
Guy Fletcher   Engineer
Dominic Miller   Composer,Engineer
Colin Vearncombe   Composer
William Topley   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Paul Crockford   Executive Producer
Mike Westergaard   Engineer
Johnson Somerset   Composer
John Masefield   Composer
Luke Brighty   Composer
Jim Kimberley   Composer
Simon Willey   Engineer
Dorie Jackson   Composer

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