3 years after the release of his successful debut album Lonely Are the Brave, Maverick Sabre is back with Innerstanding. Named for the self-understanding he’s found in the gap between albums, it’s an album that doesn’t stray too far from the sound set by his first effort, but rather stands as a solid follow-up; yet another enjoyable album from a talented artist.
The album floats between genres, opening with an array of mid-tempo ballads that show off his vocal capabilities, before eventually switching gears into funkier upbeat tracks, with gospel influence strewn throughout the album. Give It Up marks the album’s first major breakthrough, following up a number of calmer tracks with something upbeat, bright and laden with vocal harmonies and strings coating its chorus; the lyrics aren’t quite as bright as the song, referring to the inability to give love to someone, but suit the song regardless.
Some acoustic-styled tracks are thrown into the mix as well; first with Don’t Forget, which is largely acoustic up until the final third of the song, and Lay Your Head, which features nothing but vocals and guitar. They’re pleasant to listen to, but in the long run aren’t quite as interesting or fitting as the more fleshed out songs on the album, with Don’t Forget’s full jazzy closing being the song’s best feature.
The album places its strongest moment near the end, with Give Me Love’s swaggering R&B sound, slight reggae influences and references and catchy brass arrangement being the most engaging moment of the album, acting as the most unique song on the album. Of the moments that came before, the sentimental Mother evokes a similarly strong reaction, with its minimal beats and focus on distant guitar riffs and harmonising vocals being striking enough to garner your full attention without relying on bombastic elements.
Innerstanding is full of enjoyable tracks, making good use of the groundwork set by the previous album to make something equally enjoyable. While there are some songs that quite obviously stand out above the rest, there’s plenty to enjoy across the standard edition’s 13 tracks, and Sabre fans will certainly be pleased by what they hear. It’s nothing majorly groundbreaking, and there are one or two tracks without many redeeming qualities to them, but as a whole it doesn’t suffer under their weight.