An American Idol alumnus, talented singer, songwriter, and producer, a Texan, and an opener for acts as big as the Jonas Brothers, Trevor Douglas is a lot of things and his versatility is demonstrated on his debut EP, “Four in the Morning.” Written, recorded,and produced entirely by Douglas, “Four in the Morning” is filled with soulful vocals and a mixture of acoustic and synth instrumentation. The unique blend of Trevor’s vocals and instrumentation should be immediately familiar to anyone who has listened to his previous singles, but it all comes together on this EP.
The first song on the EP, “Pressure,” details the multitude of conflicting thoughts and feelings experienced when a relationship comes to an end. Trevor sings over a pulsing guitar riff which gives the song a simmering tension — and an even more satisfying climax. Trevor’s vocals become increasingly layered and intense as the song progresses. Appropriately enough, there is an underlying pressure throughout the song and Trevor’s mixture of vocal versatility and instrumental chops only add to it, creating a tense but unforgettable experience.
The second song on the EP, “Problems,” takes a look at the same relationship from a more distant perspective. With longing lyrics that conjure memories of past romance, you would probably expect equally melancholy musical accompaniment, but Trevor defies our expectations by making “Problems” one of the most catchy and memorable songs on the EP.
“Take This Back,” the third song on the EP, is about attempting to give a relationship a second chance. Right off the bat, the song’s synth-heavy sound and vibrant pop melodies give it a strong 80s sound. The retro instrumentation is appropriate for a song which is soaked in nostalgia; Trevor’s nostalgia for a past relationship and his desire to revive it, even when reviving it seems impossible. “Take This Back” is an absolute banger of a track and serves as a good midpoint for the EP.
Trevor’s vocals shine on “Stay by Your Side,” the fourth song on the EP, and make this one of the most uplifting tracks on the EP. Speaking to a partner who is unsure about his devotion, due to a bad past relationship, Trevor promises to always be faithful. Given the
intimate nature of the song, it is appropriate that the song starts with Trevor singing intimately over a stripped-down acoustic guitar. As Trevor’s promises soar, so does the song, creating an experience that is both personal and pretty damn danceable.
“Hold Me,” is the fifth song on the EP and was co-written by Charlotte Bash. “Hold Me” is a slow and sensual love song that is sure to make many fans swoon. The lyrics may be simple but they are perfect for this romantic and soulful song. A little over halfway through the song, Trevor’s vocals reach their pinnacle of passion, transforming the once slow song into an ecstatic one. Trevor is a master of creating cycles of pressure and release in his songs and “Hold Me” is an excellent example of this.
The final song on the EP and my personal favorite is “Dandelions,” co-written with Jean Marc and Di. Trevor’s pristine vocals paint a portrait of a beautiful Spring and Summer spent with his partner. “Dandelions” is Trevor at his most tender and poetic. The interplay between guitar, piano, and vocals work to create an incredible effect on this track. The scenes described in this song are very specific, yet they feel almost familiar as if Trevor has shone a light on a hidden stash of forgotten memories deep in our subconscious mind.
Trevor shows his versatility here as well, singing tenderly and softly before reaching into his gorgeous falsetto register. “Pressure” was about the chaotic and messy mix of emotions after a breakup, but “Dandelions” feels like acceptance: acceptance of a past relationship for all of its flaws and all of its glories; finding beauty in something that was finite. “Dandelions” does not end happily, but it ends softly, with a distant hint of hope in Trevor’s final mournful harmonies.
“Four in the Morning” is an excellent debut EP by a promising young artist with lots of potential and lots of heart. Any fan of up-and-coming pop, smooth soulful vocals, or beautiful and touching songwriting should definitely check this EP out. It is simply astonishing how much emotional depth Trevor manages to pack into 20 minutes. It seems clear from this release that Trevor Douglas has a very bright future in front of him in the music industry.
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Written by: Gabriel Grassie
Edited by: Hannah Schneider