New age singer-songwriter with a set of pleasant enough songs which ultimately fail to catch on fire
Tom West is an Australian singer-songwriter who has apparently had a bit of a buzz around him in the USA prior to Covid. He’s been ensconced down under since the virus bit, but he sends out this musical postcard to the world declaring that he is, indeed, surviving.
West seems to be one of these sensitive singer-songwriter sorts who are slipping into the mainstream in the wake of Jake Bugg and Ed Sheeran. Unfortunately, as with both of them, there’s little meat on the bone to chew on. The songs are carefully crafted and West’s voice, a curious monotone, wafts over them but, ultimately, they leave no lasting impression. There are several attractive enough little ditties here which are pleasant on the ear. The aquatic swoon of ‘Exile’ and the picaresque ‘I Got It Cheap’ are well performed and produced but songs such as ‘Can You Hear The Birds Calling’ and ‘Lost Mountain’ are just too saccharine for this reviewer. When West gets more energetic, as on the bustling folktronic beats of ‘King Camyses’ and the frenetic guitar thrash of ‘Suffer For Your Love’, he ends up repeating the choruses over and over as a substitute for any real drive or dynamic.
While one might look forward to a song called ‘Left Wing Rebels’, expecting some excitement, instead there is a dreary plod with empty platitudes, again repeated ad nauseum. The closing title song offers some respite as it kicks off, the album’s saving grace perhaps, as West warbles over some finely tinctured guitar, keyboards and melodeon. Ultimately however, it drifts, once again, into repetition without ever raising a pulse.