Tom Vek – Luck

It’s quite crazy to think that we’re nearly at the 10 year anniversary of the début Tom Vek album We Have Sound. Even though it fitted in with the punk funk scene of the time, it still lived in its own little world and remains one of most unique sounding débuts of its time. Shortly after promo and tour for the record, the multi-talented musician, producer and writer pretty much disappeared and it seemed like we’d never here from him again. But six years later he emerged, surprising the music world with a second album Leisure Seizure in 2011. There was some concern that he’d disappear again, but thankfully we’ve only had to wait 3 years for his third full length, Luck.

Although Leisure Seizure was full of the charm and groove his début was caked in, it didn’t quite grab me the same way. Luck begins with the minimalist guitar lines and harmonised vocal loops of ‘How Am I Meant To Know’, before guitars and drums crash in, and already sounds like a record with something to prove. New single ‘Sherman’ follows in all its bouncy pop glory with spikey guitars and bursts of retro synths; such a perfect first single. Track three ‘Broke’ doesn’t quite keep the momentum going sadly. I get that it’s meant to be a bit off kilter and I like the sounds used for the main hook but it just seems to plod along, particularly with its half drum beat in the chorus.

Drum sounds and beats seem to be a big focus on this record. Tom has always been known for his songs containing live drum beats looped, usually quite complex in their rhythms, and the beats on Luck are no different. Here they are all quite unique and well thought out, almost trying to go against what the beat should for the tempo or feel of the tune. I like the idea that you don’t know how a beat is going to work with the main hook or sound at the start of a song, but when it drops it makes for an interesting dynamic. Tracks like ‘Ton of Bricks’ and ‘Your’ll Stay’ are good examples of this, particularly the later which doesn’t sound like a live beat and instead a break beat/ d’n’b kinda vibe to it.

There seems to be a more electronic element to this record with synths and bleeps smothering each tune, but they seem to be used to help give the tacks more sparkle and shine (Trying to Do Better is pretty euphoric) and helps to propel the core TV sounds underneath; fuzzy bass lines, jangly guitars and strong vocal harmonies.

What I love about Tom Vek records is that they have a real sense of identity in terms of the way he constructs melodies with layers and sounds but does’t necessarily follow a particular sound or style, every tune brings something different. Tom strikes me as someone who is interested in making great songs, not necessarily making a coherent or conceptual record, and Luck is a record brought together by its charm, charisma and inquisitive song craft.

Release Date 09/06/2014 (Moshi Moshi)

8 out of 11

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Benjamin Forrester

I joined the Silent Radio family near the very start of my move to Manchester in 2012 and I'm still having the best time! During my stay here I've been in two noisy bands, had a not so noisy solo project, made a zine, started a blog and started a radio show. It's been productive to say the least and it's all been intersperse with a shit load of gig going and beer drinking. I would love it if you followed me on twitter @dr_brainless for excitable tweets about playing, watching and living new music.