Back in 2014 Blabber’n’smoke was very taken by Trent Miller’s Burnt Offerings comparing him with Gene Clark even. Well, the Italian born, London based singer/songwriter has done it again with the follow up, Time Between Us, another fine collection of songs which again show Miller’s affinity with the late Clark. While it doesn’t quite match the heights of Burnt Offerings, being less adventurous overall, there’s still an aching and deeply romantic touch throughout. However, with the album written in the throes of a divorce, the overall mood is dark and reflective, many of the songs referring to a lover leaving while the singer hides in dark corners in bars nursing his wounds.
Miller plumbs the depths of despair in a couple of the songs here. Moonlight Cafe is a dreamlike swoon into a world of regret and refuge with an arrangement which recalls The Blue Nile while Motel Rooms of Ocean Blue has the singer drifting between bars and his lonesome motel room, his solipsistic musings amplified by the mournful strings and horns adorning the song. Still dark but somewhat leavened by more upbeat arrangements there’s the shimmering guitars of After The Great Betrayal and the Beatles’ like lyricism on the closing She’s Leaving The Place For Good.
The remainder of the album is more akin to its predecessor. The title song cracks the album open with Dylan like harmonica over a fine folk rock scrabble as Miller delivers an excellent song suffused with regret despite its surging chorus and surely the similarity in the title to The Byrds’ Time Between is no accident. Miller’s similarity in his vocal style to that of Gene Clark’s is immediately apparent in the sweeping and string laden How Soon is Never and he revisits this on the mainly acoustic Bonfires of Navarino Road, a rendering, it seems, of his first encounter with his ex, which blossoms into another string laden lament. There’s more shades of Clark on Lady Margaret Street although here the band shift into a muscular chunky mode and then there’s the jangled glory of Days in Winter which is not dissimilar to some of the songs on the recently released Bennett Wilson Poole album. With a definite Dylan touch in the jumble of guitars, organ and harmonica which inhabit Since You’ve Gone and a slight sense of a mellow Guy Kuyser on the gentle waves of Lament Of The Sea Miller continues to set his compass to those of his influences but, as before, he treads his own path only this time it’s a somewhat forlorn trek.