A trip back to the drawing board has yielded possibly Maverick Sabre’s best work yet. Beautifully crafted but with a true honest edge; this DIY album is saying what he truly wants to say, and you can really hear it.
After the release of his first studio album, Lonely Are The Brave, in 2012, Maverick Sabre was right at the forefront of music. A stunning soulful voice over smooth but catchy songs; the album was an instant hit.
But a lacklastre follow up album saw him fall from grace pretty dramatically. He was dropped by his label shortly after in 2015, and after three years on an upward tradjectory, he found himself back at square one.
After Innerstanding, Maverick Sabre went pretty much rogue for four years. No songs of his own and no real noise about what he might be creating.
He did manage to mentor and develop the now global star Jorja Smith from humble beginnings in Walsall, contributing his touch on a few of her songs, such as A Prince and Carry Me Home. But apart from that, the man went utterly silent.
However, he has returned with possibly his best work yet.
It may not have the catchy anthems the first can boast, but make no mistake, this is a truly complete album from an artist that has clearly benefitted a lot from a few years of self-reflection.
Writing, recording and producing it all himself, much of it at his own home, you can hear how the album is not as polished as previous ones, but that adds to the essence of it.
Whilst songs off his previous albums have been mostly focusing on love, or on the music itself, Maverick Sabre tackles far more complex issues on When I Wake Up, such as violence in war, religion, the recent rise in stabbings, youth culture and even fake news.
Politically tinged from start to finish, he grapples with these subjects with a far more subtle and elegant touch than he might have previously.
The whole thing sounds like a soundtrack to our times.
It does have it’s lighter moments, like one of the singles off the album Slow Down, a stylish Tarantino-esque number with none other than Jorja Smith herself featured on it, more likely a favour to him now than her!
But the real gold off this album is when you catch Maverick Sabre at his reflective best. Tracks such as Into Hope, Preach, Big Smoke really highlight the maturity in this new record.
His singing has also become significantly better, which he said himself. He’s singing like an old school soul singer, pretty impressive seeing as he started as a rapper.
When I Wake Up shows that Maverick Sabre has lived through those years out of the spotlight. No label shackles upon him, he released a piece of work that comes straight from the heart with the true passion shining through every song.
Albums such as these really are rare these days, a complete body of work with a consistent feel and voice. Most albums today are ten to fifteen of their best songs chucked together with no fluidity or pattern. There is also a reason for that; it’s bloody hard to do.
It puts a smile on our faces to see an artist of Maverick Sabre’s quality putting a record out independently and for it to sound as original and as authentic as it does.