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Tommy Reilly - 'Jackets'

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Fraser McAlpine | 13:25 UK time, Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Tommy ReillyWe live in an age where we are so starved of interesting, distinctive male voices that the merest hint of regional accent is enough to qualify as an arresting and amazing new sound. This is no idle claim, or deliberate provocation, there are simply too many singers whispering, squeaking and groaning when they should be singing - singing from the gut, singing from the heart, anywhere but the nose and the back of the throat - and I for one have had enough.

Look at the girls, fellas! All sorts of different vocal sounds coming out of them, lots of emoting going on, AND they dress up and make the effort to look nice and stuff. Dishevelled chic is all very well if you've got the cheekbones to back it up, but I want a decent sound to come out of your mouth too, and I'm not going to be too picky about the source.

(Here's the video. This is no time to lie down, people...)

So, when Tommy Reilly - a winner of a TV talent competition and therefore rocksnob target No.1 - does his trademark bleating, wailing thing, complete with Dunbartonshire vowels, he's already 80% of the way towards getting my automatic support. All he needs is a sympathetic producer who won't swamp the fragile beauty with a beefy, bland backing.

Dammit! And we were so close there! The trouble with the production on this song is it's a LOT more muscular than either Tommy's voice or the song itself. Oh sure, Tom's giving it his all, that's what he does, and the song is a nice folksy skippy thing, but his voice suddenly sounds weedy and reedy and lost. And this from the fella who can blow people away with just a guitar/keyboard and a microphone.

The band are rockin' up a storm, the glockenspeil player tinkles merrily, and poor wee Tommy's left squeaking his blues from the top of a massive chocolate sundae, when all he really needed was a decent sandwich and a cup of tea.

Hopefully they've let him have some room on the rest of the album, or I'll have to go back to getting my 'phlegmy oik' thrills from Jamie T.

Three starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: June 22nd
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

The Devil Has The Best Tuna says: "Tommy Reilly is the best male singer because he made the Devil (and Alex James) cry."



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