Whimsical. There you go, got that out of the way! The album where, by Tom’s own word, he exorcises his demons. With every album he gets better, not that I shall tell him, a raise on nothing remains nothing and his continued subservience to the Bad Elephant must continue.
It is most definitely not covered by the ‘whimsical’ word; if the target audience is the Steampunk movement then they should adore it, but I would add that for any discerning fan of good music; I like it very much on my first two passages through the material.
Okay, odd start, but Wizards of This Town is a lush little intro to a jolly T. Slatter. Yes, lyrical oddness remains, but you can’t help but love it, a little at least. The passage in Modern World is just a pleasure, an unusual bridge to be sure, cleaner glasses perhaps, washed with care and love by the German hygiene specialist, Hans that does dishes? Then back into a riff that carries the song to its end. Was that 9 minutes? Felt much shorter, cool.
An acoustic version of Wizards of This Town and not the version that appears on the album…
That’s the puns out of the way, no more, well not unless the opportunity arises. Wizards was great, Modern World has some great riffs, some superb touches, and though it may be wind, I am genuinely smiling at this material. I cannot profess to understand how the mind of this artist works, but somewhere on the thin line between, takes one to know one as they say.
Weather Balloons & Falling Stars continues in the vein (or should that be vane) and is again a great tune, Tom’s voice sounding the best that I have heard it, with very much the inflections of yore, it is another good tune. I think the way he writes influences the inflection, similar numbers of words each time ending with a slight lift.
West Wind, the quality remains, another tune that is a pleasure to hear, and when I move beyond dining room headphones to car or studio and speakers, I think the layers will reveal even more. There is much I could write on each tune, but I think if you like to listen as much as hear, a purchase and further exploration of your own is warranted.
Interlude, unnumbered between the wind and the light. Short, odd, and rather sweet.
Patterns of Light, I suspect completely unintentionally, reminds me of Entangled by Genesis, with a touch of Björk thrown in. Entangled is one of my favourite tunes, so I really don’t mind at all. I think this is my or perhaps peculiar favourite.
The almost a capella Cutting Up All of Our Dreams is quite naked, the spaces that exist strengthening the vocals and music on its appearance. Whilst young Slatter exercises his demons around a vast number of Henry Moore sculptures, and a couple of Barbara Hepworth’s for good measure, the aural canvas he has produced is rich. This is an album that should increase the number in his fan base. Whether this reveals more of the artist is open to conjecture. I think it does, but I think what it reveals I will keep to myself.
Drop Dead’s Punching Above His Weight, interesting stereo effect via the headphones and not a touch of the wormwood present, noticeable by its absinthe. I like to think it is about the images we present to society, though I am certain I will be told that is cobblers, less shoemakers more horologists maybe. The Steampunk storytelling arises again here. Tom loves telling stories I think, odd ones, dark ones, but stories, and dependent upon your interpretation. Interesting.
Tinfoil King. The lights are on, but contrary to the lyrics there is someone home. It changes direction a few times, but is a great tune. I never know what to expect with the music of this gentleman, and that is part of the charm, there is much to enjoy on this his sixth album; he interacts via social media with fans, foils, wits, halfwits, lexiconic tormentors and those who let him into a studio to record. But if this is the result, we’ll let him be.
There remains that urban myth folk element to Tom’s music, this is his best to date, it deserves to sit in collections, inspire new supporters, and give him continuing access to give us more.
Demon concludes this album (unless you are a supporter, see Bandcamp page for details, extras go to those who keep him in cat food. It’s worth it), it ends as it began, a strong collection of tunes through, much to please, no disappointments for me, and though he may deny, it sounds like he is having fun.
I do recommend it, if you want there is always the Bandcamp listen before you buy option, and if so inspired the supporters’ option which gives you little drops of Tom throughout the year.
01. Wizards Of This Town (5:28)
02. Modern World (9:06)
03. Weather Balloons And Falling Stars (6:16)
04. West Wind (5:42)
05. Patterns Of Light (3:22)
06. Cutting Up All Of Our Dreams (4:57)
07. Drop Dead’s Punching Above His Weight (5:51)
08. Tinfoil King (6:08)
09. Demon (4:51)
Total Time – 52:41
Tom Slatter – Vocals, Instruments
Michael Cairns – Drums
Gareth Cole – Lead Guitar (track 7)
Rebecca Haynes – Bassoon
The Barley Singers: (track 6)
Rebecca Haynes – Vocals
Rachel Slatter – Vocals
Evelina Hepp – Vocals
Elizabeth Murtagh – Vocals
Frances Reynolds – Vocals
Maria Ramos – Vocals
Josie Christian – Vocals
Terry Visram – Vocals
Chrina Jarvis – Vocals
Record Label: Bad Elephant Music
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 26th July 2019