(Interestingly Pete singles out Lines Overheard At A Séance for special mention, a song that I included as an after-thought to get the numbers up. I mean, I’m very proud of the song, it’s one of my favourites, but it almost wasn’t on there…)
Spinning The Compass is almost a metal album. All Tom would need to do is swap acoustic for electric guitar and the keyboard parts for more electric guitars and he’d be there. The fact that it’s not a metal album does allow the songcraft to shine, though, and it’s a treat to hear such deft fretwork without layers of distortion.
Tom’s dedication to theory means these songs are often almost too clever for their own good; he likes time signatures, and don’t get him started on the lydian mode. However, the unexpected quirks and lunges in strange directions never get in the way of a melody or a strong chorus, particularly on the excellent title song and the opener, Mechanism. Buzzing at the centre of this album is Lines Overheard At A Séance, all fuzzy keys and crackling drums. It’s a dark and hypnotic piece,easily one of the best things I think Tom has recorded.
The Dark Power (AKA Joe Slatter, my brother) makes models. His love of, and quite remarkable talent for special effects and models has finally lead him into an interest in photographing things properly.
His latest film project is currently called ‘Oldroid’ and will involve a very steampunky little automaton.
I’ve used one of the early pics of this as a draft cover for Spinning the Compass. Once there are some proper photos of the whole thing, I shall steal one of these for the final cover as quite by coincidence Oldroid fits in with the theme of steam engine related body horror that runs through some of the songs on Spinning the Compass.
My new favourite Steampunk music discovery is Moth, a band from the UK.
Here’s a video for the song Tree Snow. The music is vaguely gothy minor key pop rock with a lovely chorus hook and even a proper pop song key change at one point. The video is all quirky steam-powered robot fun.
They have a (rather confusing flash driven) website, and can be found on CDbaby. Definitely worth a listen to.