Tom Verlaine Songs And Other Things/Around Review

Album. Released 2006.  

BBC Review

Like the proverbial bus, you wait for over 13 years for the new Tom Verlaine album,...

Chris Jones 2006

Like the proverbial bus, you wait for over 13 years for the new Tom Verlaine album, and two come along at the same time.Dividing the fruits of his toil into two distinct camps -fully-formed songs (Songs And Other Things) and instrumentals (Around) -fans of the ovine-voiced one can relax. It was well worth the wait.

Around is marketed as a follow-up to his underrated (and recently reissued) Warm And Cool though its moodiness isn't as leavened as its predecessor was with peppy 50s past iches. Its sparse, antique reverb-filled soundscapes put one in mind of a mythical American industrial wasteland, offering scant comfort while being undeniably haunting. Songs... confusingly contains further instrumentals but is mostly concerned with cheerier (if still moody) fare. It's obvious that he's moved away from the somewhat frustratingly oblique approach that's marred previous releases. Songs... could easily be by his other band, Television. Billy Ficca's drums are raw and precise and Tom's vocal style hasn't altered a jot since 1978. Meanwhile his guitar skills remain as idiosyncratic and peerless as ever.

The one drawback is that listening to them back to back leaves the listener pondering if they wouldn't have been better left as one piece. With a little patience these 25 odd tracks could have been sequenced to make one of the finest double albums of the century so far. But as it stands, these two will do just fine...

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