Tommy Hale “All At Sea”

Holiday Disaster Records, 2024

Hotch potch of ideas fails to deliver coherent follow-up to previous excellent outing.

Kicking off with a ferocious, almost metal, Southern rock blast on the track ‘Hideaway’, Hale and his crew of English bandmates bludgeon the listener into paying attention but then they undo all the good work by following it with the insipid ‘World Won’t Wait’ which not only features a cheesy 80s synth but also a vibe and tune that is so close to The Knack’s ‘My Sharona‘ as to be children from the same mother. ‘Let’s Start A Fire’ tries to get things back on track starting as a moody, gnarly vocal led thing (hints of NY’s ‘Coupe De Ville’ here) before gathering itself for the big finish and then failing to deliver anything of substance. ‘Esperanza‘, one of the two covers on the album, plays to Hale’s baritone vocal strengths but seems bereft of ideas as the waltz time narrative circles the word esperanza several times without making much sense. Ultimately it all becomes a bit turgid as the synths swell to the conclusion of the track.

The production sometimes feels dated and consequently the album feels a bit hobbled and often pedestrian. ‘Radio Towers’, the other cover, is a great tune but it fails to really ignite. You’d expect this to be a monster live but here it lacks urgency and conviction, which is probably not the case given the furious opening to the album. The album closes with the title track which may go some way to explaining the pervading sense of ennui. It feels as if Hale is desperately trying to create something worthwhile but has, for the moment, somewhat lost the mojo he admirably demonstrated on previous release “Magnificent Bastard”. This reviewer has no doubt it will return but for the moment this album is not up to previous high standards.

4/10
4/10

About Keith Hargreaves 393 Articles
Riding the one eyed horse into dead town the scales fell from his eyes. Music was the only true god at once profane and divine The dust blew through his mind as he considered the offering... And then he scored it out of ten and waited for the world to wake up
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