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Tom Vek We Have Sound Review

Album. Released 2005.  

BBC Review

Elements of lo-fi rock and even jazz make it hard to define, though very easy to dance...

Lisa Haines 2005

With We Have Sound, Tom Vek lives up to his hype and proves he is more than the sum of his numerous influences. In many ways the album's mix of funky guitars, electronic flourishes and belligerent beats seem to sit alongside other new wave revivalartists such as Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand. But additional elements of lo-fi rock and even jazz make it hard to define, though very easy to dance to.

Stand out tracks "C-C (You Set The Fire In Me)" and "I Ain't Saying My Goodbyes", the first two songs on the album, are a case in point. Opener "C-C..." kicks off with aRed Snapper-like bass and beat, before sinking into a wall of sweet synth which builds to a dischordant crescendo reminiscent of free-form rockers Pavement. Played live, it has an instant effect on an audience, inspiring all manner of rocking, nodding and head shaking.

"I Ain't Saying My Goodbyes" picks up the pace and embraces the spirit of John Lydon's PIL with infectious glee. Tinny guitars and simple but fast drumming give it an abrasive dance-rock feel, much like The Fall and James Murphy's LCD Soundsystem. Vocally, the 23-year-old Londoner has been compared to John Lydon and Mark E Smith, but there's something of David Byrne's jerky showmanship in the meandering yelps on "A Little Word In Your Ear" and the narrative delivery of "Nothing But Green Lights". The chiming guitar in this latter track has similarities to Washing Machine era Sonic Youth, evoking a real sense of drama.

This sensation is carried into "On The Road". The lyrics seem banal on the surface; "You said I was a back seat driver, you said I was the road map reader, you said I was the driving license..."But laid haltingly as they are over a mounting cloud of menace they take on a surreal life of their own, eventually consumed by the song's grumbling stormy finale.

There's nothing showy or pretentious about this record, it sounds fresh and inspired, and even better live. Listen to it now.

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