Dunno why but Sandman had thought Tommy was a geordie. He is, in fact , from Rotherham. What we had spotted was that Tom is developing into pretty fine songwriter. The one guitar/one voice road is a tough one to travel because if the basics aren’t good there’s nothing else to support it and Tommy does the basics well. Eskillator is the best song here, a catchy, raw-voiced tune about love and shopping. If there’s a fault here is that occasionally the songs go on a little longer than is healthy and also on CD you’re not getting the benefit of a personality that seems very much at home on stage. A bit of self-editing and, perhaps, using the recording process to experiment a bit more with different sounds to leaven the pacing wouldn’t go amiss but our favourite of the month.
Pic: Andy Brown
Paradoxically ‘Radio Friendly’ which minges on about not being radio friendly, actually is, in a Lamacq-y sort of way. Knockabout punk which zigs and zags around in a manner which leads us to believe they might be quite fun live. Lacks a certain muscle on CD (did someone forget to bring the bass along?). Pop with tattoos.
Workmanlike rock. Flyaway’s a pretty decent leadoff, good chorus but with a verse melody that sails so close to ‘Hotel California’ that it virtually knocks it off its bike and nicks its wallet. There’s a slightly strained Buffalo Tom influence on the other three tracks but since we don’t mind parched melancholic rock, fair enough.
The Matlock Baths Sessions
Schizophrenic album length offering. Rock, which, when it rocks, is slightly finer than dandy, but which keeps fucking around with the bastard child of twats - the rock ballad. Purely personal taste, of course, ‘Ultra Violet’ and ‘Mind Games are proper leather trouser and riffing (a good thing) but ‘The Incomprehensible Truth’ and ‘Metamorphosis’ (at a ball draining 10.48mins) are poxy, lyrically awful old toss. Toss a coin, chaps. Sort it out.
We tend to gulp when we receive shabby cassettes with some bloke’s name scrawled on the side in biro since it so often precedes some fool with an acoustic mumbling faux profundities with no tune. So, cheers then to Mr. S who, in his letter, describes his stuff as ‘smoking tunes’ and has knocked out something rather listenable. Nice and spacey, it stays just the rightside of involving. A track called ‘Goodbye Rotherham’ transcends its title and chills nicely . Occasionally veering a bit close to the muzak that drifts out of flash bars at downtimes the gentle wash that colours the tape keeps it on the right lines. If you’re not too busy rolling, Tim, send us some more.
Not strictly speaking a demo but a mini-album.. If we didn’t like the music (and on the whole we do) sandman would applaud S.L.B.C. for the inlay sleeve made out of recycled cigar paper. It starts off a bit po-faced with the autocratically inclined ‘New Destination’ then gets fun with ‘Token Love Number’ - a less manic Mark. E. Smith with 60s horns. There’s plenty of imagination here with a range of ideas over the 6 tracks and the production suggests someone’s either got the best 4-track ever or access to a lovely studio.