In the eyes of some, taking a two-three sabbatical from any job can leave you sluggish and off point. Taking a two-three sabbatical after selling 250,000 copies of your debut album in such a ruthless and forgetting music climate is almost suicide to some.
However, that is what Michael Stafford, aka, Maverick Sabre chose to do, and after his successful first album 'Lonely Are The Brave', he is back with 13 new tracks to remind his fans and the rest of the industry he still exists with 'Innerstanding'.
It was 2011 when Maverick Sabre released his first official single, followed soon by the rest of his debut album in 2012. It was an entertaining and easily listenable album with many great tunes to nod you head and sing to yourself in the shower.
The young-London-born singer-songwriter used his love of hip hop, soul and RnB to fuse together music that combined all of those elements. It included tracks like 'I Need', 'These Days' and 'Shooting Stars', with the latter showing the artists fantastic potential.
Though all that seems like a life time ago, a time where Ed Sheeran was popping up on peoples radars singing A Team in the smallest of venues.
Now approaching the end of 2015 and Maverick Sabre is back, older, more mature, more travelled and with 'Innerstanding', an album that sadly fails to reach the same standard as his first.
With a seemingly similar approach of musical fusion, the album isn't as enticing and at first listen is a struggle. Many tracks are too melancholic and too down tempo. 'Lonely The Brave' was full of catchy tunes that grabbed your attention. With enough patience and effort, 'Innerstanding' does become a decent album, though some fans may not have/give the time and diligence to realise that.
'Come Fly Away' is one tune that does pull you in. One of the more upbeat tunes with an infectious chorus and probably the best song on the album, breaking down the instruments throughout the song to their raw sound. Despite 'Give it up', which shares a similar formula to 'Come Fly Away' the album precariously sits on the line of being clever and poetic, to depressive and sobbing.
At the half way mark 'Don't Forget' is a classical example of this. A tale of heartbreak and regret sung softly to the backdrop of a cliché love song. Maybe a clue to why Maverick Sabre has been quiet for all these years? 'Walk Into The Sun' is refreshingly upbeat, positive and joyous. By this stage in the album, this track is really needed and may portray an insight into the thinking of Stafford. With opening lyrics that begin "I spent too much time concentrating on the negative", I think Stafford sums up the album himself and this track is his realisation that he can shy away from the pessimism that shadows him through the album. 'Walk Into The Sun' has an excellent drum beat and great break downs.
Joey Bada$$ features on 'We Don't Wanna Be' and is the only track that highlights the hip hop that runs through the veins of Maverick Sabre. With an extremely funky beat, the song is a welcome positive to the album, though a little out of place with the soulful approach to the rest of 'Innerstanding'
Which maybe where the problem lies with this entire album. It doesn't have the same musical fusion his debut did. Or perhaps it is the lapsed time from the game that has left him a little rusty. The album definitely grows in stature with time, though he hasn't reached the heights of his first album.
Let's just hope the chosen break from music doesn't have a negative impact on his career.
Maybe he is just rusty.
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