With a voice that echoes of a certain lament, probably drawn from a deep-seated annoyance at the continuing reduction in the number of second-hand vinyl shops, the Cornish crafter that is Luke Toms imbues this debut album with colourful reflection. This fuels the artist’s desire to bring thrust back to the off-kilter pop song. ‘Another Day’ reaches a soaring falsetto pitch from a clambering piano push and summery, Steve Earle guitars. However, it is a Bono kick that finds its way into the vocals that strikes out at you with passion and authority. The slow, friendly piano trickle that contrasts with the sorrowful gait of the vocals for ‘Friends United’, highlights a sharp cinematic element and starts to unwind the many emotive strands to this deft debut album. Those who were blown away by Duke Special’s debut of this ilk had better make sure their feet are firmly on the ground upon first listen to eleven track sojourn. Bold and bracing nostalgic and winding accompaniments take a hold from the outset. Plus, as a special bonus, a Barry Manilow kick seeps in and then disappears like a sceptre.
Previous single, ‘Fools With Money’ builds in yearning and croaky cries that draws out the foibles of a gold-digger, with the aid from a rich tapestry of sound, featuring colourful piano stitching that is becoming Toms’ trademark. Neat ambient instrumental touches draw out the musing air that continues to thicken throughout. ‘Knever Know’ uses a supple folk lob to dissect the merits of life and love, with wisdom and a trickle of fallibility. The latter element flows neatly into the bouncy blues of ‘Hold This Thought’, as a feisty grip starts to firmly take hold. The horn rattled, jazz flirting journey of ‘What’s More Important’, raises tough questions about life and features a catchy choral pounce, leaving the instrumental impact lingering long enough for you to attempt to answer these questions yourself. A stern belief in what you do, coupled with an appreciation of what others have been doing with little fuss for years before you makes this moustachioed performer genuine, hearty and pondering.