Saturday, 28 June 2014

Album Review:Tom Vek – Luck

(Moshi Moshi)

London multi-instrumentalist Tom Vek gained a cult following with his 2005 debut We Have Sound with a modest reception it gained him a dedicated following who'd have to wait six years for a follow up. In 2011 he released Leisure Seizure and whilst it didn't win him further exposure it still shown an artist work keeping an eye on. Now he's got his third album in just under a decade, Luck, and whilst he isn't the most prodigious artist it might be enough to cement his cult status.

Jittery and agitated post-punk of Sherman (Animals In The Jungle), the first single form Luck really stands out. It has the kind of simple three note guitar line that would be at home on a track form the mid-2000s post-punk revival. Whilst it all sounds a bit like Bloc Party's first album it doesn't come across as old with a sharp synth line cuts in alongside a restless drum beat. As the song's title forms the track's chorus Vek's ability for creating urgency in his half-spoken deadpan vocals becomes apparent.

Broke stands as one of the more ambitious genre-hopping tracks, with big pop song keys and middle eastern scales mixing with big garage rock riffs and and messy drum beats, throwing a succession of hooks and riffs at you for it four minutes. Trying To Do Better brings together a mixture of heart on sleeve emotion and aggression from post-hardcore with electronic sounds that works way better than you think it will.

The songs keep themselves around the four minute mark and simple verse chorus pop structures which is both a strength and weakness. Vek's penchant for mixing up disparate genres keeps things interesting but you always feel you know it is often leading to a big chorus. He has never been striving for lyrical complexity and for the most part his straight up and simple approach works but there are a couple of lines like “If you say you didn't do it /I'll believe you didn't do it” on the chorus of Ton of Bricks that are hard to overlook. He started ahead of the curve with his mix of indie rock and electronica but now it's common place for bands to incorporate electronics and smart production in the mix with the tried and tested band dynamics.

Luck is a varied piece if work, covering enough musical styles to give nineties Beck a run for his money but the risk with that is you can lose out on cohesion and that's were it falls short. You'd be hard pressed to find another recent album that touches on such varied genres as tracks like the acoustic The Girl You Wouldn't Leave For Any Other Girl to the cut-up jungle beats and squelchy digital bass lines of You'll Stay where Vek pushes his electronic influences to the forefront. Even in the internet age that has brought about the blurring of genre lines when he's at his best Tom Vek's musical approach still sounds unique.

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