I didn’t write a review for an album that I played a small part in:
With ‘Dial’Godfrey at the height of his powers – a mature songwriter who really knows how to put together a good record. If you want rocky guitars, it’s here. If you want extended prog rock structures, you get them too. If you want synths and electronic drums you get those. Above all you get songs that really pay you back for multiple close listens. I’ve heard the album about five times and am still discovering new details.
Is it good? I’m biased of course, but yes I think it’s fantastic.
“Name in a File” combines tunefulness with the odd slant that Tom is known for and good at. It makes for a great one-two punch to start the album out. “Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said” reminds me a little of Tim Bowness for some reason. Given that I love what Bowness has been up to, that’s a good thing. “Even Then We’re Scared” feels like the quirky Tom Slatter that I have come to know and fear
My favorite tracks are “Happy People” for being just a great song, “Satellites” for its addictive chorus, “Fire Flower Heart” for its classy and poetic soul, and “Set Light to the Sky” for its gleefully dark premise. Other great offerings would be the electronically laced instrumental “Tracking Signals” and the sweet guitars of “All of the Dark”. Honestly, now that I think about it, that last one might be my favorite.
Tom has probably made the best album that I have personally heard from him. It’s consistent, melodic, psychedelic, and well written. This could very well be the album that really breaks Tom into the vast, lucrative world of progressive rock. I think David over at BEM should maybe keep him around for a couple more albums.
Both very postive reviews, which is great. Like all artists I am incredibly vain and want to hear only praise. Two 8/10 reviews will do nicely.
Incidentally it is interesting to note that where the reviews have mentioned what they think are influences, they’re way off. 60’s music? The Beach Boys? Nothing wrong with those things but I’ve never really listened to anything from the 60s to be honest.
Anyway, two down. Let’s hope any more that turn up are equally as flattering.
Tom Slatter’s music can be hard to get into, but he knows his influences of stories and influential backgrounds very well. As I’ve mentioned on the final composition, I can imagine Rod Serling has given the torch to Tom Slatter and for him by writing his own stories to capture and staying true to the late 1950s TV series of The Twilight Zone. What I hope that Slatter does, maybe in the future, is to make a Graphic Novel of the complete story and along with the music telling everything from start to finish.
I would love to make a graphic novel of the Seven Bells John story! Anyone know any comic book artists who work for free.
What I love about this review is that it mentions lots of ‘influences’ I didn’t know I had. I better get listening to them right away…
The closing title track, begins as a Rhodes lullaby for the first 28 seconds before going into the style of Camille Saint-Saens heavy inspirations of the Danse Macabre in the sinister waltz time signature and not to mention the string section, keeps the tension going in this jazzy-classical-rock sound. And it is really terrifying and menacing, but the lyrics that Tom wrote are staggering and mind-boggling.
Steampunk is a genre of fiction and style that takes many forms, from a joyful celebration of Victoriana to disturbingly bio-dysmorphic body-horror; Tom Slatter’s interests tend towards the murky darkness of the latter, and his music is largely directed at articulating unsettling character-driven narratives in such a setting. Through These Veins continues his efforts in this… vein, with dramatic, cinematic songs telling stories of scientific hubris, unhealthy creative obsession and personal tragedy.
A lovely man named Diego has reviewed Three Rows of Teeth. He said this: “Tom Slatter’s Three Rows Of Teeth is a great example of ‘self-made’ music where you can enjoy both complex and regular music with deep pleasure.”
Friday certainly was. I wasn’t able to stay for Knifeworld’s set (which is a shame, cos they’re bloody good on record) but I did catch the other two bands.
Trojan Horse are a four piece from Manchester: all stop-start rhythms, hard-rock, mellotron and lots and lots of facial hair. There’s a danger that prog can be inaccessable the first time you hear it, less immediate than simple four chord rock songs. That isn’t the case with Trojan Horse. The music might have been more complicated than the average rock band but even though I hadn’t heard them before I got it immediately.
The vocals were tight and even contained the odd hook (Yo ho ho!) and the whole set was delivered with such passion that you couldn’t help but fall in love with the hairy scamps. The through-composed, constantly changing structures could have lead to concentrated, introspective performances, but Trojan Horse were having none of that – they played with all the energy and loseness of a three chord punk band, but with none of the pretention.
(Hang…. wasn’t punk supposed to be less pretentious than prog…)
The highlight of the night for me was The Fierce and the Dead. I’ve known Matt Stevens online for a few years but this was the first time I’d got round to seeing his band live (and to discovering that Matt is very tall. People are supposed to be smaller in real life aren’t they? But no, Matt is far far taller than his twitter profile pic would have you believe).
The Fierce and the Dead are somewhere between the Pixies, the Shadows and 80’s era King Crimson. Don’t believe me? Go listen to them, it’s true.
Once again this set completely failed to fit into prog stereotypes. All right, there were twisty time signatures and not a verse-chorus structure anywhere in sight, but neither was there any of the self indulgence the genre is supposed to be guilty of. TFATD’s performance was exuberant and celebratory and all about entertaining the audience.
Stevens has been talking on facebook about the idea of a prog revival – or perhaps some new proggish movement that these sort of bands fit into. This gig supports that notion. The Stabbing a Dead Horse tour filled a London venue with a couple of hundred people and played complicated, silly music to an appreciative audience of couple of hundred.
Which gives me hope as a music fan and as someone who plays music of a vaguely similar bent (indeed the new album is going to be far more rocky than the last two, and I’ll be seeing about finding a drummer and doing some full band gigs next year). If British prog did die back in the 70s (it didn’t) then the Stabbing a Dead Horse tour has Frankensteined it back to life.