If you’re going to be singing about heartbreak, which Trouble in the Wind does generously on their new release Slide Rock, you’d better have a voice that can sell it. Fortunately for the band, lead singer Robby Gira’s throaty, melancholy warble does just that.
Gira’s vocal, tempered at times and powerful when needed, is the headlight that guides Trouble in the Wind through a cavalcade of multiple musical styles. Be it Folk/Americana/Surf/Country/or Rock, Gira’s vocal responds with an emotional delivery that grabs your attention. He croons heavy on “Nights Like These,” gets deep on “When You’re Drunk,” and tugs a handful of heart strings on the slow shuffle of “Horse’s Back.” At times, while his vocal might overpower a bit, like on the surfy “Grumpy,” Gira’s delivery on the majority of tracks is so ear-grabbing that these moments can be easily overlooked.
The 16-track list on Slide Rock is no doubt a bit ambitious, though most of the songs clock in at less than three minutes, creating catchy, stripped-down, punchy moments. The opening number “Big Escape” and the rise and fall tempo of “Long Island Girl” are the perfect example of Trouble In The Wind’s ability to craft a three minute song that carries a chorus you will be singing for weeks after the first play.
The four piece band is made up of Robby Gira on guitar and vocal; Kyle Merritt on accordion, banjo, lap-steel and acoustic/electric guitar; Trevor Mulvey on bass guitar; and Larry Doran on drums. On numerous numbers, Merritt’s multi-instrumental contributions weave a colorful palate for Gira’s vocal to punctuate. His solos get in and out quick, accenting versus outshining the material’s overall feel. Trouble in the Wind makes it easy to fall into their folk Americana drama with compact arrangements not bogged down with over playing.
The last song, the acoustic heart tug “Get Up Kid,” finds Gira sounding like he’s sung his voice to the nub. And after 16 songs, it’s an appropriate finish. The song mirrors the lay-it-all-on-the-line, leave-nothing-behind performance that Trouble in the Wind has brought to their moving sophomoric record.