Los Angeles —What is the meaning of life? How do we survive loneliness and loss? Why is happiness so fleeting? The human condition is a theme that artists have studied for centuries, but it is rare to find one who can successfully explore existence in a way that is elegantly simple and profound — Redvers is one of those musicians.
The Australian singer-songwriter (aka Justin Gill) presents an unembellished, poetic debut with Truth In Silence. The album was inspired by both the tranquility of Blue Mountains of Australia and the tragic life found in King’s Cross. Sydney’s inner city of raging nightlife, prostitutes, and junkies is paired with the peaceful backdrop of natural sounds to give breath to an honest portrayal of our complex, beautiful world.
The wordless and earthly melodies of “Dawn Interlude” set the tone with wordless, tranquil commotions of the earth. Intricate strings and birds chirping rush in and while the introduction can be compared to Beck’s “Cycle”, it is a far less fixed overture. As his guitar undulates, you can almost imagine yourself waking up and walking through the Australian sand as the sun rises over the horizon.
It is only when his voice does grace the record on “Impressions,” that the mind is pulled from wandering and pushed into a retrospective about love. The violin wafts as Redvers examines what he has learned from his broken heart. “Don’t let the wind in the night steal her sweet embrace,” he chimes in hopes that we learn from his mistakes. From there, the discussion of desolation only goes deeper with an honesty that is so true it would be uncomfortable if it weren’t marinated with musicality.
Of all of the solemn, soul-turned-inside-out tracks, it is “Laughing At Rainbows” that is most listener-friendly. Without losing his straightforward wisdom and swooping falsetto, there is a hope that persists. The most up-tempo of songs touches on the inevitable pain and the importance of maintaining a smile in the midst of suffering. The rain pouring not only layers the sound, but it is also a strategy to generate a cathartic experience.
No matter how touching his lyrics may be, they are overshadowed by the melodies. Redvers emotive string-play is his true gift to the music world. “(Reprise)” doesn’t need a voice because the instruments reveal emotions that no tongue could possibly express. While his voice returns to insist we must push through even the roughest of times, it is the weeping of strings that resonate until the end of “Time Dilation”.
There is nothing particularly groundbreaking about the work, but that is not be the reason this piece of art deserves more than one listen. The point is the tenderness that comes with every whirr and thrum. He shows the world’s gaping wounds without a melodrama that many veteran artists can never master. Redvers’ empathy and focus creates a stunning story with folk-tinged warmth. It’s good news he is already working on his next album.