Review: Maverick Sabre – ‘Lonely Are the Brave’

Originally published for IAreYeti.

Having been born in Hackney and moving to Ireland at an early age, it’s difficult to figure out how Maverick Sabre discovered the soulful tone in his voice which is prevalent on his debut album ‘Lonely Are the Brave’. Since featuring on tracks with the likes of Professor Green and Chase & Status, Maverick Sabre has become a favourite amongst many of the UK’s popular hip-hop and urban artists. His music cannot be referred to as soul in the traditional sense; instead it is a more modern, grittier kind of soul music, similar to the style adopted by his close friend Plan B on ‘The Defamation of Strickland Banks’, with the themes ranging from injustice and racism to relationships and adolescence. With the vocals and lyrics seeming to become less and less important in current music, Maverick Sabre’s take on modern soul is like a breath of fresh air.

Re-mastered versions of tracks, such as ‘I Need’ and ‘Sometimes’, from his 2010 ‘The Travelling Man’ mixtape show how Maverick Sabre’s musical influences have expanded and developed, as well as showing a clear increase in production levels. Latest single, ‘No One’ is a brilliantly produced track, reminiscent of the sound on Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’ album – an artist Maverick is often compared to. The song tells the story of an unfaithful ex-girlfriend, on which Maverick bitterly declares “I gave you everything I could and you never gave a thing”. For a male artist nowadays, Maverick’s lyrics about relationships are honest, bold and, quite frankly, more relatable than the tales of ‘bitches’ and ‘hoes’ told by many hip-hop artists.

But Maverick does not simply write about past relationships, he also tackles much bigger themes. On ‘I Used To Have It All’, Maverick’s voice sounds so perfect that you almost don’t notice how insightful the lyrics are: “Living in this world where they tell us we’re nothing without money to show and represent us”. For a man of his years – he is only 22 years old – his lyrics express a deep analysis of his surroundings and society as a whole. His exploration of the unjust nature of the police system on ‘Shooting the Stars’ is so in-depth and descript that the lyrics have a much bigger impact than those on some of the other tracks: “How’s a kid supposed to feel when he’s always getting stopped cause the area he’s from man gun you down if you run?”

For someone who speaks with one of the most mixed up accents you may ever hear, Maverick Sabre delivers the vocals on his songs so beautifully and eloquently that you can’t help feeling soothed by his music. However, it is not just his voice that is so appealing about this album; his lyrics are incredibly powerful and thought-provoking, tackling current issues in our society. In a culture where youth crime, racism and discrimination are constantly topics of discussion, Maverick Sabre tackles these issues with a mature and profound outlook, as opposed to simply lashing out on everyone or anyone who can be blamed. The album is deep, interesting and wonderfully produced and will undoubtedly earn Maverick Sabre some well-deserved praise.

Overall Rating: 4/5

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