By Loyal Trooper
'The Doctor,' the debut single from Loyal Trooper is a beautiful, downbeat and heartfelt ballad that avoids the pitfalls that often befall this type of song, and emerges as a gorgeously understated, heart-string-bothering ballad.
The lyrics are perfectly balanced, making frequent nods towards an intriguing story by name checking very specific locations (a hospital, an infirmary and a patient's bedside all get a mention) whilst leaving enough blanks for the listener to twist the lyrics into something they can relate to. Even better, 'The Doctor' never strays into maudlin or self-pitying territory, and it never becomes cloyingly sentimental. It feels very honest, a factor that is helped along by frontman Andy, who has the sort of voice that can easily convey emotion, in addition to being sublimely easy on the ear.
Musically, 'The Doctor' is stunningly beautiful. Shivering strings and tinny keys give the first half a fragile, dream-like quality that's designed to enchant. The second half takes a darker turn, as the lyrics mention poison, hospital bedsides and pills, and the music mirrors this, with deeper keys rumbling away in the background.
The first half of 'The Doctor' is delicate, starry-eyed and charming, while the second half has an intriguing, buried darkness. All in all a perfect indie-pop ballad.