Sunday, 19 January 2014

Tom O'Driscoll "Tenacity" review

When I heard that Tom O'Driscoll had just recorded his first solo album at Smileys Sunshine Corner Studio enlisting his production and drumming skills as well then I was quick to get in touch to find out a little about Tom and the new album. One of the first things he said to me was "Would you like me to send you a copy?" so I eagerly said yes!

I've been listening to the ten tracks that make up "Tenacity" for about a month now and the album has grown and grown on each play. It's funny hearing an artist for the first time with no expectation or exposure and what Tom and Smiley have created here is a great album with a retro vibe that is also modern and relevant. 

Tom and Smiley split all the instruments between them with Tom playing acoustic and electric guitars as well as bass and obviously all vocals leaving Smiley to play drums (naturally), keyboards and even lending lead guitar to the track "Light and Shade".

There is certainly a sixties influence running through the album, even vague hints of psychedelia in parts but it also has some of that later mod vibe and you could imagine messers Weller, Foxton & Buckler ripping through some of these tracks (or should that be Hastings, Foxton & Smiley?). Toms vocal style has a dream like fluid lilt that bounces along with each track and you wonder if the music is chasing the vocal or the vocal pulling the music along just behind it, there is a symbiosis that makes them inseparable.

Stand out moments for me include "The Other Side Of Life" - great guitar solo that leads into a Smiley keyboard workout, "Apathy" (complete with audio samples from the legendary film "Zulu"), the "angry" "Sadder Than Sad" and title track and album close "Tenacity". I do think though that this is one of those albums better appreciated as a whole, for instance I don't see many people singling out the acoustic guitar instrumental "The Mumtaz" but it's a great track and works well in the album running order. It's not a long album by todays standards clocking in at 37 minutes so it doesn't demand much to listen to it as a whole.

It seems a shame that currently the album is only available at Toms gigs (but also gives you a good reason to seek out his live dates!) and I would urge Tom to look into paypal or something similar in order to widen the geographical demographic who can access "Tenacity" which is a fine release!

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1 comment:

  1. Fantastic album...All the songs are catchy and thought provoking...Best music I've had the pleasure to hear in ages! A1