Saturday, 10 August 2013

Tom Peel - Tom Peel

Album review by

You know this album is going to be fun right from the off. Giving a live feel, the opening to first song 'This Could All Still Work Out' begins with some laughing and chatting as Tom Peel prepares his band for a run through of the track. In fact it could all be recorded as live for all we know. 'Tom Peel' is an album that sounds DIY and sounds homemade, and if you can get this right then it can make records far more exciting. This Birmingham-based chap and his band do get it right, and the resulting album deals with even glum subjects in a self-depreciating and witty manner, but never venturing close to novelty.

"I'm tired of telling people I'm not related to John Peel" he sings on 'Laura, Half French', and you can believe it. Peel's attitude to disregarding perfection and deciding that getting the point across was more important made his radio shows so much more charming and natural. More human. Tom Peel does the very same thing with his music. There are some songs that are upbeat, indie/garage style numbers (the Kinks-ish 'You've Gone Down To London' for instance) and some are more thoughtful, almost Syd Barrett like, although this is simply a slight infliction rather than a direct comparison. See 'Turn Yourself And Face It With The Change' or the oddball 'Save Up Spend All My Money On Summer' for examples. The former has a particularly lovable outro that brings in an indiepop feel.

The upbeat, clappy indie of 'Salt and Pepper' could be Belle & Sebastian were it not for the vocals. He plays around with country-folk on the pretty and thoughtful 'I Conclude And I Agree' and also the downbeat and sombre 'I Hope That You Still Listen To Joanna Newsome', lyrically a simile for love lost as well as a glimpse at Tom Peel's record collection. Following such a lament, the surging, soulful guitar-pop of 'Girls, They Don't Hear Your Prayers' is even more effective, but then it's back to that great bugbear again with the self-explanatory 'Like They Got In The Movies (I Can't Find Love)'. Tom Peel continues in the line of quirky, (unintentionally) eccentric British songwriters and has produced a little diamond here.

Tom Peel's website

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