When listening to Swamp Trotter, an exploratory outfit from Rochester, the beauty reveals itself in layers. This was due in large part to singer Kévin Le Blévec’s terse, impassioned delivery — a delivery that was, in part, sung in French. When you don’t speak the language, the sound of the vocals is elevated to that of an instrument. So it’s my suggestion that you spin Swamp Trotter’s 2016 release “Old Friend” as a warm-up to Le Blévec’s first solo endeavor, ”Kevleb.”
The intro track to the album, “Lef Dat Gul Behind,” sounds like a band playing in reverse, with the guitar playing the melody and Le Blévec’s voice responding with textured harmonies. That may seem screwy, but I tell you, it works. “All Over” has this role reversal as well, with the vibrato-rich guitar leading the search for truth — and it gets there before the rest of the instruments do. “Details” is the first introduction to Le Blévec’s vocals à la française. This is where you can employ that previously mentioned trick of tossing out a tune’s lyrics and admiring its instrumental qualities instead.
The whole affair glides home on the slide-guitar wings of “Travailler,” which morphs into a straight-up rock session before fading away into the silence.
Frank De Blase is CITY's music writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.