Tom Baxter Skybound Review

Released 2008.  

BBC Review

You could do far, far worse than this generally lovely album.

Helen Groom 2008

He's not one to hide his feelings away, is Tom Baxter. A singer/songwriter from the school of writing lyrics so emotionally raw you can see the blood in them, Baxter returns with his second album, a mash of chill-out, soul and latin sounds that lifts itself above the morass.

Shelf stackers are likely to bundle him in with the more sanitised James Blunt, but a comparison to Scott Matthews would be more appropriate, with a soulful, passionate voice that sometimes brings to mind Elvis Costello or Randy Newman, when clogged with emotions.

Latin influence has clearly come to play in creating Skybound, giving the album a softly energetic feel. It’s nothing too out of the ordinary, but it marks Baxter out from the rest of those regaling us with tales of emotional woe. The lovely ''Icarus Wings'' and ''Tell Her Today''both use the latin influence best, with the rhythms pushing the music along, and giving the tracks an air of urgency.

Baxter injects an element of blackness with ''Half A Man'', with lyrics so painful they can only have been created in the lonely, sleepless early hours of the morning. Lines like 'aware that with every heart of gold, there retains its currency/ so if you believe love's cause is free, you can call me a fool to call it robbery/ but I only know that once I was whole and now there’s half of me', form a nice counter balance to the joyful enthusiasm for love heard earlier in the album.

It is the happy, happy, joy, joy elements that let the album down slightly. "Miracle feels" a teeny bit trite, with a lovely sentiment that is just a bit too familiar. And after ten tracks devoted solely to the joys and trials of love, you do feel that a new subject matter might be a good idea for the next disc.

Skybound is not an album that will tempt the trendy young masses, but with any justice will draw in a crowd of loyal fans. For something mellow, meaningful, and not too MOR you could do far, far worse than this generally lovely album.

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