30 Sep 2022

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Young Moon


Paraverbal Orchids - Young Moon

Alright, straight out with it - behind the gruff and tough exterior of this gnarled old punk lies a total geek. So when the title of San Francisco native Young Moon/Trevor Montgomery's latest EP Paraverbal Orchids had me reaching for the dictionary, well, you could say he had me at ‘Paraverbal’.

Except that wouldn’t really be true at all. Trevor has had me for years - not that either of us knew it until a recent and rather humbling Sunday afternoon where I had the pleasure of sitting in on a session at his Nelson studio, Secret Handshake.

I was in fine form, doing my typical thing, holding forth, vomiting fiery yet thoughtless opinions with earnest piety - just generally telling him how to do his own job in his own fucking house. That kind of thing. My thing.

To cut a long story short - as the afternoon wore on, and after some poking and prodding, I found out just how many LPs in my collection had Trevor's fingerprints all over them. Cue gushing, blushing fanboy.

From Tarentel, to The Drift, to Lazarus - I’d unknowingly been following his work for years and I’m happy to report that his new guise as Young Moon has done nothing to dampen my enthusiasm for this rather prodigious and talented man.

Through his work as Lazarus we first got a glimpse of Trevor's emotive depth. If you’ve never heard his Lazarus album, The Trickster, do yourself a favour and block out a Friday night in your calendar to stay home and cry along as he lays himself bare in the most darkly personal and evisceratingly beautiful manor. His strength is his humanity. His fragility, his vulnerability, his resilience - it’s all there, bundled up and tied together neatly with suitably lush and sparse melodies that invite the listener in. To accept that invite is to stare into the abyss. I choose to stare and so should you.

We can never know what an artist is writing about lyrically but with Trevor, I can’t help but always feel I’m right there with him as he weaves his narrative. His pain becomes mine. His story is our story. And isn’t that what great art is? A canvas for you to project your own meaning on to? The artist welcomes us into their world and they have painted the picture. If they’re any good at what they do - the meaning is ours to project onto that picture.

Trevor's work as Lazarus invited us into his world. His work as Young Moon feels like a natural continuation of that. And a real continuation at that. He’s not rehashing the same old songs but mining new veins, refining his sound, maturing as both a man and a musician.

Paraverbal Orchids is a natural successor to earlier works like The Trickster and finds Trevor in fine fettle. That glorious vulnerability and terrifying honesty are on full display. And this ain’t no earnest bleeding heart gob shite — the guy is tearing his fucking wounds right open before us and you can all but taste the blood.

I’ve always been a sucker for the tortured genius schtick - all the more so when its no schtick. Trevor as Young Moon is all too real and I’ve found myself drinking in Paraverbal Orchids like I’ve just spent 40 days and nights in the desert.

Sparse and simple melodies. Darkly romantic. Crafted and refined. Lush and inviting.

Twinkling, reverb soaked guitars set against pulse like rhythms judiciously meted out from a Roland TR-8 and enveloped in Trevors trademark vocal - a vocal I always feel harks back to Mark Lanegan at his best. Resonant, raw and there’s that word again - emotive.

Jeff Moller (Jeff Moller and the Marigolds, China The Band) adds subtle flourishes on organ and backing vocals as well as contributing contrastingly upbeat bass lines that, in combination with his own organ and Trevor's guitar work, bring an overarching sense of hope to the songs. Openers The Orbiting Object and That Highway Light exemplify this perfectly. As does the gorgeous call and response of my personal favourite, Broken.

I could make some sort of bullshit connection between hope, the moon being The Orbiting Object, lunar cycles, new dawns, fresh horizons and all that guff here - but I’ll leave that particular digression to some other two-bit hack with a more mystical bent than I and just say instead that its all there and you’d do well to treat yourself to a listen. Or two. I’ve been marinating in this for a week now and I’m not even starting to get bored.

Young Moon's Paraverbal Orchids is set to be the first in a slew of new releases Trevor has in the pipeline and is currently self released only on Bandcamp. Frankly, it deserves a wider release - these songs shouldn’t be left in the dark. Get on it already - you can thank me later.

- Jonny Heathen

Band Members:
William Trevor Montgomery


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